Posted by & filed under Travel Post Monthly.

 
 
By Anita Breland and Tom Fakler
Boujloud’s blue and green tiles glint in the setting sun. Place Pacha el-Baghdadi, the immense square outside the ancient medina gate, swarms with people jockeying for position along its brick ramps to view a free concert.

In Fez, Morocco’s third-largest city, crowds stream through the gate, which serves as the main entrance into Fez al-Bali, the city’s ancient medina. Youngsters squeal as they spin on carousels improvised from the circular bases of unused flag stands. Their older brothers toss caps, and sometimes their smaller siblings, in the air.

The ticketed concerts of the World Sacred Music Festival take place at nearby Bab Makina, where starry skies and purple and orange stage lighting provide a backdrop for hawks that swoop and dip with the music. When, partway into the first classical piece of the evening, the call to prayer sounds out from the city’s minarets, there is barely a flutter across the audience, and no notice at all is taken by performers. The Festival is a place to see and be seen, while listening to beautiful music.

The Sacred Music Festival demonstrates the possibilities for reconciling Christian, Jewish and Muslim worlds through sacred music. A sampler of Islamic music is presented in harmony with other spiritual traditions, such as U.S. gospel choirs and whirling dervishes from Turkey.

Ticketed and free concerts are held under the stars, and followed by Sufi evenings that run into the wee hours. Dar Batha Museum, formerly a palace, provides an intimate setting for afternoon performances among the jacarandas and flowering shrubs of its Andalusian gardens.

The 2009 festival kicks off May 29th and runs for nine days. To view the program, visit www.fesfestival.com.

Anita Breland is a communications consultant and travel writer based in Basel, Switzerland. She and photographer Tom Fakler travel extensively in pursuit of memorable cultural experiences. Samples of their work may be viewed at www.mosaikphotography.com.


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