The Fez Festival of World Sacred Music and its Forum set up in 1994 and 2001 respectively, takes place within the scholarly, artistic and spiritual tradition of the city of Fez. Ever since its inception, this event has witnessed growing success. In 2001, the United Nation has declared the festival as one of the most outstanding events that is contributing to the dialogue of civilizations.
Because of its magnetic attraction, the festival has managed to gather artists of world fame from all horizons, sharing their quest for the sacred. Since a few years now, under the instigation of its artistic director Alain Weber, the festival has also been initiating pluri-disciplinary creations of a great dimension that are presented at the opening of the festival. Some ninety artists have sometimes succeeded each other on the stage.
Featuring giant projection mapping and musicians from different traditions, we are invited on a journey enhanced by music and images displayed on the ancient walls of Bab Al Makina. Ramzi Aburedwan offers his compositions and arrangements for orchestra.
- 2016: A sky full of stars
- 2017: Spirit on the water
- 2018: Ancestral knowledge
- 2019: Fes, memory of the future
- 2022: Architecture and the Sacred
2016: A sky full of stars
“A Sky Full of Stars,” is presenting the stories of Arab and Muslim women who had left their mark on history. Stories of wise women, mystical women, founders of Islam and other ancient cultures, poets and enchantresses, are told through the mythical figure of Sheherazade, a noblewoman who mastered the artistic and intellectual pursuits of her time and risked her life by joining the harem of a cruel man in order to save the women of her kingdom. Through song, music and dance, the performance highlights the reign of the Queen of Sheba, the slave woman Tawaddud Al-Jâria, who challenged the powerful sages of her court, and Oum El Banine, who founded the Karounine mosque and the University of Fes, among others. Contemporary women artists onstage included horsewomen poets from the Mongolian steppes, musicians from the court palaces of Azerbaijan, Persian Sufis, and singers, dancers and instrumentalists from China, Ethiopia, France, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco and Palestine, all backed by a large orchestra of Palestinian and Moroccan musicians.
2017: Spirit on the water
"Spirit on the water" explored water from musical, spiritual and ecological perspectives. The epic saga that unfolded on the stage was an abstracted homage to water as a source of life, an inspiration for the sacred, and a magnificent ecological fable. It featured an extravaganza of images and music, a large orchestra, soloists from different traditions coming from over the world—including Kuwait, Egypt, Palestine, Greece, France, Belgium, Spain, Brazil, India, Iran, China and Mali—and an aquatic sonic exploration that incorporated myths from antiquity, whale songs, onomatopoeic renditions of water, and dreamlike underwater scenes.
2018: Ancestral knowledge
"Ancestral knowledge" explores aspects of Arab-Islamic traditions, and the ways in which handicraft and its know-how, originally linked to a divine or prophetic revelation, render evident the desire to integrate craft to wisdom and to a practical and daily spirituality. The craftsman models and works on the material in the same way as the divine intellect configures the Soul in order to produce the cosmos, using shapes and colors. Therefore, the craftsman’s gesture is like a fragment of the universal action of the Soul. This performance explores the poetic and musical side of the privileged relationship prevailing in the City of Fes between architecture, handicraft, spiritual brotherhoods. The musical exploration is nurtured by the writings of the great Arab philosophers, both ancient and modern, and inspired by Greek philosophy, particularly that of Aristote.
2019: Fes, memory of the future
Like a fairytale, "Fez, memory of the future" approach the miraculous aspect of the birth of this city, the childhood of Idriss II and its legends and anecdotes about his precocious genius which lead him to be proclaimed Imam at the age of eleven. Many Moroccan artists, carrying the Arab, Andalusian, Amazigh and Jewish heritage, highlight the cultural diversity embodied by the tangle of alleys of the medina, a symbolic representation of a geography of the mind and of traveling. We visit the Sufi brotherhoods of Senegal as well as the holy city of Al-Quds where a large number of Fassi Sufis settled and where the famous doctor and philosopher Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon, known under the pseudonym of Moses Maimonides, was born in Cordoba in 1135, on the banks of the Guadalquivir, in an Islamized Andalusia. Persian, Armenian, Tunisian, Palestinian artists and artists from the Sultanate of Oman illustrate the influence of an Islamic and scholarly culture of which Fez was one of the main cradles, especially through the notoriety of its Al Quaraouiyine university.
2022: Architecture and the Sacred
"Architecture and the Sacred" invite on a journey through the five major religions of the world: Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism. This is a voyage that begins and ends in Morocco, our ears abuzz with the vibrant beauty of the music and architecture of the world. From the Gothic cathedral to the Jewish synagogue, from the immaculate marble of Mughal India to the clay zellij tiles of the imperial mosques of Morocco, that which is visible pays tribute to that which is invisible, tracing the vertical axes between the Creator and His creation, heaven and earth, the cosmos and nature. About a hundred artists performing sacred songs of Morocco from the three monotheistic religions, Indian Qawwali, Kathak dance that told of the deeds of deities of sanatanadharma (the eternal law), Buddhist poems of Milarepa, all will exalt the sacred that has succeeded in surviving all the crises of humanity to this day.