The National Festival of Andalusian music being held in Fez, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. However, what should be a major cultural event misses out through lack of publicityMany residents and visitors to Fez have been unaware that the festival was on. It closes on Saturday (7th). No press releases were sent out and information in English for tourists has been unavailable.
Guest house and Riad owners told The View from Fez that they had many clients who would attend "if information had been made available, particularly in English". Other festivals such as the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music, the Festival of Amazigh Culture and the Fes Festival of Sufi Culture have all learned how important pre-publicity is and their marketing has improved their audience numbers. The Andalusian music organisers need to follow their lead,
The festival, initiated by the city of Fès, takes place under the theme "The Moroccan Andalusian music: an authentic Arab heritage." This year the festival had major participation by the Arab Academy of Music, an institution born of the Arab League, which works for the protection and development of music in the Arab countries.
|Essaïd Ben Amar Amrani ~ "celebrate Moroccan Andalusian music"|
"Most of this edition, which ends on March 7, aims to ensure the spread of this music," says Essaïd Ben Amar Amrani, head of the cultural division and international relations in Fez. "It is a chance to celebrate Moroccan Andalusian music, absorb it, to learn about its features, discover its strengths and thus participate in its diffusion through the Arab world."
Being held at the Cultural complex Al Houria, the palace Al Manbhi or at the Great Hall of Fez Medina, orchestras in the program this year include the Orchestra of Chefchaouen, the Andalusian Orchestra of Casablanca and Al Assala from Meknes.
The festival began on Wednesday, with the Orchestra Mohamed Amine Dobbi of Rabat, the Conservatory Orchestra of Fez, the Labrihi Orchestra of Fez, the Mohamed Otmani Orchestra of Fez and the Orchestra Mohamed Laarbi Tamsamani of Tetouan.
|Mohamed Otmani Orchestra of Fez|
Three orchestras will close the festival on Saturday March 7, the Orchestra of the Rawafid Association of Tangier, the Arab Orchestra of Andalusian music of Fez and the Orchestra Abdelkarim Rais Fez all in the Great Hall of the Fez Medina.
The program of this edition also includes masterclass courses for the benefit of Andalusian music lovers, and scientific meetings on poetry and the music of this ancestral heritage.
Morocco’s classical music originated from the Arab-Andalusian tradition. It is said that Andalusian classical music evolved in the 9th century in the Emirate of Cordoba (Al-Andalus) which was ruled by the Moors. The outstanding Iraqi musician from Baghdad Abu Hassan Ali Ben Nafi, known as Ziryâb, (“Le Merle or “The Blackbird”) is credited with its invention. It is said that Ziryâb fled Baghdad in the 9th century following rumours spread by his teacher, Ishaq al-Mawsili, who became jealous of his success.