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News Stories from 2012

Travel News: Ryanair's new Barcelona route to Fez

Ryanair logoAfter Ryanair's recent announcements regarding the commencement of Fez flights to London Stansted, Eindhoven, Rome Ciampino and Pisa, Ryanair have now announced a new route to Barcelona El Prat.
Flights begin on 02 April 2013 and will operate 3 times weekly, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. El Prat airport, previously Barcelona International Airport, offers much easier access to Barcelona than the current Fez - Catalonia route which flies to Girona. The Girona route will cease on 27 March 2013. Ryanair also announced that the new Moroccan route, Barcelona El Prat to Nador, will commence on 31 March 2013. Posted 31 December 2012

 

 

Review: Russian dance & variety spectacle, 21/12/2012 at Complexe Al Hourria, Fez

Russian dance & variety, 21 Dec 2012, Complexe al Hourria, Fez Morocco Russian dance & variety, 21 Dec 2012, Complexe al Hourria, Fez Morocco Russian dance & variety, 21 Dec 2012, Complexe al Hourria, Fez Morocco Russian dance & variety, 21 Dec 2012, Complexe al Hourria, Fez Morocco Russian dance & variety, 21 Dec 2012, Complexe al Hourria, Fez Morocco
Last Friday, 21/12/2012, the Russian Cultural Centre & Mayor of Fez, in conjunction with the Northern Morocco branch of the Russian Cultural Association hosted an evening of Russian dance and variety at the Complexe Al Hourria.
The show opened with a variety of traditional Russian folk dances performed by a the young troupe 'Ensemble Younost'. a talented group, clearly classically trained.
The dance numbers were interspersed with a Russian 'Diva' performing Eurovision style big numbers. as there was no live band, all songs were performed to a backing track and sometimes there was the feeling that it was not just the backing track that was pre-recorded. The effort of performing the big numbers was seemingly being achieved completely effortlessly.
In the later part of the show the dance troop performed some more modern pieces, including a 'Paris number', a 'jazz' dance, an 'all the world piece', and they finished the evening with a 'Czarist dance', a piece inspired by the big Central European waltzes, with the added twist of dresses that light-up (see photo below).
It was an interesting evening with the performances clearly appreciated by the audience.

Russian dance & variety, 21 Dec 2012, Complexe al Hourria, Fez Morocco Russian dance & variety, 21 Dec 2012, Complexe al Hourria, Fez Morocco Russian dance & variety, 21 Dec 2012, Complexe al Hourria, Fez Morocco Russian dance & variety, 21 Dec 2012, Complexe al Hourria, Fez Morocco Russian dance & variety, 21 Dec 2012, Complexe al Hourria, Fez Morocco
Posted 25 Dec 2012

 

Food: Making Mandarin Jam at Dar Aquas

Mandarin Jam ingredients, dar Aquas, Fez Morocco Dec 2012Mandarin Jam preparation, Dar Aquas, Fez Morocco Dec 2012 Mandarin Jam cooking, Dar Aquas, Fez Morocco Dec 2012
If there is one really good thing about mid-winter in Morocco, it is the mandarins. There are really sweet and a 2 kg bag can be bought for less than €1, but once it gets in the house is often attacked like a roast chicken at a Moroccan wedding. We have previously made various marmalades and jams but for some reason we have never made mandarin jam, and to ensure we had enough both for jam and eating we bought a few kilos extra.
The mandarins were peeled, the flesh pulped, the sugar and the juice of three lemons added, then the mixture was heated until the sugar melted. Once this had happened, a rolling boil eventually gave a setting point and the jam was potted up in sterlilised jars. When the jam had cooled it was added to the pantry ready for serving at breakfast.

Mandarin Jam newly potted, Dar Aquas, Fez Morocco Dec 2012 Mandarin Jam, Dar Aquas, Fez Morocco Dec 2012
Posted 21 Dec 2012

 

 

Travel News: Ryanair's new route Fez to Eindhoven (Netherlands) & return of Rome & Pisa (Italy) routes

Ryanair logoAfter Ryanair's announced in October that they were to reinstate their London Stansted to Fez route in March 2013, they have now announced the opening of a completely new Dutch route and the recommencement of 2 previous Italian ones.
On 01 April 2013 Ryanair will start flying between the southern Dutch city of Eindhoven and Fez, with 2 flights per week on Mondays & Fridays. Also, on 31 March 2013, Ryanair will recommence their Fez to Rome Ciampino route with 2 flights per week, Sundays & Thursdays, and on 25 March their Fez to Pisa route with 3 flights per week Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays.
Other new Ryanair Moroccan routes announced are Tangier to Dusseldorf Weeze & Frankfurt Hahn, Oujda to Dusseldorf Weeze, and Eindhoven to Agadir,. Good news all around for Fez, and for the inhabitants of Eindhoven, Pisa & Rome who now have the chance to visit the ancient city of Fez. Posted 20 December 2012

 

Food: Bakola (Mallow Leaves)

Picking Bakola (mallow) in Fez Morocco, December 2012 Bakola (Mallow) growing in Fez, Morocco during Spring 2012 Bakola, Early Jan 2013, Sellaline Souk, Fez Medina, Morocco
Bakola (Mallow) is a flat leaved plant that appears after the first autumn rains and continues to grow throughout the winter and spring months.
It seems to like poor soil and is found in abundance growing wild in several open spaces around Fez medina.
You will often see women gathering it on disused land near roadsides, and in autumn bundles of it appear for sale in the souks. Today there was a lovely display of bakola in Rcif souk but unfortunately no camera was to hand. It seemed quite a lush crop, probably due to the good rains we had last week.
The bitter tasting leaves are usually cooked by first steaming and then shallow frying with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and pepper, although the procedure changes according to the cook. Posted 11 Dec 2012

 

Travel News: Bookings now possible for Ryanair's Fez to London Stansted Flights

Ryanair logoRyanair announced in October, the good news that they were to reinstate their London Stansted to Fez route in March 2013, but no flights were initially available to book. However, flights have now been loaded on to their website, and the route will recommence on Sunday 24 March, with bookings currently possible up to 24 October 2013 (end of Summer 2013 timetable). Ryanair indicate the route is 'All Year Round', so hopefully flights for the Winter 2013 timetable will be made available in due course. Posted 27 November 2012

 

 

Film Review - Tinghir-Jérusalem : Les échos du Mellah (2011, Fra) 21/11/2012, Cinema Rex, Fes

A wonderful film presented by the Institut Francais Fes as part of their documentary season at Cinema Rex. In his film Tinghir-Jérusalem : Les échos du Mellah, director Kamal Hachkar returns to his family town of Tinghir in the Moroccan Atlas mountains to explore the history of it's now non-existant Berber Jewish population and in particular their departure for Israel in the late 1950's & early 1960's.
Kamal first visits Tinghir to explore what evidence, the physical and the memories, still exist of the Tinghir Jews, and we hear stories and see photos of how 'Zionist Agents' (Mossad) came to Morocco to convince the Tinghir Jews to move to Israel, and how eventually with many making the decision to move the others feeling isolated felt they had no other option but to follow. On no occasion do we ever feel that there were any serious problems between the Jews and Muslim populations.
Subsequently Kamal makes the journey to Israel to try and find the other side of the story and it is there that impact of the exodus hits home. We initially meet a middle class shop keeper and his family, originally from Tinghir, who has have a good life in Israel and have all the normal trapping of a modern life. But slowly as Kamal further explores the Moroccan Jewish population we find different stories, how the European Jews already in Israel did not want the Moroccans settling in their towns, how they felt discrimated against by the authorities, the ongoing feeling of displacement that still has not gone away. We meet a woman who only speaks darija (Moroccan Arabic) with her adult daughter who in turn only speaks Hebrew, but who understands her mother! He later visits a neighborhood and is asking around looking for a Moroccan family, only to be told, "...but sure they are all Moroccan around here". We meet several 1st generation emigres who would not look out of place if they returned to Tinghir today. You could feel how their loss of country, roots, and society that many of these people experienced has left a deep scar on their lives. Posted 22 Nov 2012

 

Review: El Ché de Cabaños and Héctor Braga (Astorian Folk Music) at Hotel Barcelo 20/11/2012 :

El Ché de Cabaños (L) and Héctor Braga (R), Astorian Folk Music, 20/11/2012, Fez Morocco Héctor Braga (playing the Zafona), Astorian Folk Music, 20/11/2012, Fez Morocco El Ché de Cabaños (L) and Héctor Braga (R), Astorian Folk Music, 20/11/2012, Fez Morocco

This evening the Instituto Cervantes Fez gave us an interesting and varied performance of Folk Music by singer El Ché de Cabaños and multi-instumentalist/singer Héctor Braga, from the northern Spanish provence of Asturia. The concert opened with a solo from Braga on the Asturian Pipes (Gaita), followed by an explanation of the pipes workings. This was then followed by traditional vocal pieces by both men, the strong style reminiscent of the popular tenors of the early 20th century with an element of flamenco. We later had pieces on the Asturian Harp (Arpa Celta) and a Hurdy Gurdy type instrument (Zanfona). The evening finished on the surreal note of a room full of mostly young Moroccans stood to attention as the Asturian 'national anthem' was sung accompanied by the pipes. Again the Instituto Cervantes Fez gave us an excellent concert from excellent performers. Photos from mobile phone. Posted 20 Nov 2012

 

Fez Film Festival :

23-25 Nov 2012, Festival du Film de Fes, Cinema Rex, Fez Morocco

The Institut Francais and l’Association Soleil de Fès present the 3rd edition of the Festival du Film de Fes, with this year's theme being 'Emotions and Feelings'. The festival takes place at the Cimema Rex from 23 to 25th November and there will be 2 shows a day at 17h and 19h. The Festival opens with La Cinquième corde (Mar 2011) and will be attended by the film's director Selma Bergachbeen. All films will be shown in their original languages with the addition of French subtitles where necessary.
Nov 23, Friday, 17h La Cinqueme Corde (Maroc 2011), 19h: Imitation of Life (USA 1959)
Nov 24, Saturday, 17h: Women in Cairo (Egypt 2009), 19h Fear eats the soul (Ger 1974)
Nov 25, Sunday, 17h: La Femme D’a Cote (Fra 1981), 19h: Far from Heaven (USA 2002) The full programme (en Fracais) is available here. Posted 18 &19 Nov 2012

 

 

Nature: Empty skies over Fez

Alpine swifs clinging next to nest hole on medina wall, Fez Morocco
This week saw the final departure of Alpine Swifts for their wintering grounds in southern Africa, so the skies over Fez medina will now be mostly empty for a few months until their return of the next spring. The birds should start to return next February/March to their nest holes in the medina walls. These first birds normally stay until early August, when once again the skies go mostly silent until the mid-August arrival of migrants, probably from European breeding sites, who stay in Fez until early November. The sight and sounds of groups of the acrobatic birds as they chase insects over in the evening skies is an integral part of the medina atmosphere and we look forward to their return announcing the arrival of spring 2013. In the meantime the sparrows with have some nicer winter roosting spots. Posted 17 November 2012

 

Water Fowl return to the Jardin Sbile pond

Little Grebes, Nov 2012, Jardin Sbil, Fez Morocco
A family of 6 Little Grebes have returned to the Jardin Sbil pond. The park is located between Fez el Jdid and Fez el Bali and all the water fowl disappeared earlier in the year when the pond was drained for cleaning. But now these grebes have returned only 2 weeks after the pond was refilled, we also saw several Gray Wagtails and a large number of dragonflies. No sign of the moorhens returning yet, but the quick return of the grebes is a good sign. Posted 15 Nov 2012

 

Food: Today's fruits and nuts

Barbary Figs / Cactus Fruit, Nov 2012, Fez Morocco Acorns, Nov 2012, Fez Morocco Acorns, Nov 2012, Fez Morocco
While we are really enjoying the arrival of Mandarin season, it was great to come across some of the red cactus fruit (hindia), a winter variety, today while walking through Fez el Jdid. It seems that every year when we first see these, we initially think that they are figs, so it is easly to understand how the cactus fruit got it's name of Barbary Fig. At 1 dirham a fruit, this seller was doing a roaring trade and couldn't peel them fast enough. These fruit, without the usual needles of the summer variety, are a deep red beetroot colour and if you eat a couple and you'll suddenly look like you're wearing lipstick. We also noticed this cart of acorns, another autumn/winter regular, near the Nouarine souk. Posted 14 Nov 2012

 

 

Review – The 5th Korea-Arab Friendship Caravan, Fez, Morocco 09/11/2012

5th Korean-Arab Friendship caravan, Fez Morocco, 09 Nov 2012, Orchestra
Yesterday evening we experienced an Interesting  show this evening at the Al Hourria Cultural complexe in Fez.  The auditorium was packed with many people standing at the back and sides of the hall and several of Fez’s important public officials seated in the front 2 rows.   The performance of Korean music and dance was the opening night of a 5 date tour of Morocco and the Middle East, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Korean - Moroccan diplomatic relations.  After a significant period of speeches and presentations, the show opened with the Gyeonggi Provincial Traditional Music Orchestra.  The 8 piece ensemble, dressed in colourful silk traditional clothes consisted of a 3 piece string section (Korean equivalent of Harp, Violin and Cello), 2 woodwind, 2 percussion, and a keyboardist.  They started with several interesting pieces  including traditional Korean folk music and some Korean film scores before moving on to interpretations of more popular music including a medley of 3 mid-era Beatles tracks played at various speeds.   The music was followed by performance of traditional Korean folk dances from the Gyeonggi Provincial Dance Company.  The dancers dressed in various spectacular colourful costumes, performed 6 varied pieces, including 2 where the dancers also played complex drum rhythms. The scene was at times partly reminiscent of dervishes especially when the dancers spinned and their costumes billowed creating the dervish effect.  There will be performance s in Meknes (10 Nov) and Rabat (12 Nov) before the show moves to Jordan and the UAE.
Korean Dance, Centre Al Hourria, 09 Nov 2012, Fez Morocco Korean dance Fez Morocco 9 Nov 2012 Korean dance, Fez Morocco, 9 Nov 2012 Korean Dance with fans', Centre Al Hourria, 09 Nov 2012, Fez Morocco Korean Music and dance, Group Photo, Fez Morocco, 9 Nov 2012
Posted 10 Nov 2012

 

Concert/Spectacle : 5th Korea-Arab Friendship Caravan - Morocco

5th Korea-Arab Friendship Caravan, 19h30, 09 Nov, Complexe Al Hourria, Fez, Morocco

As part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Morocco and Korea, the Ministry of Culture of the Kingdom of Morocco and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea have organized a show of music and Korean traditional dance at 3 venues:
Friday, November 9, 2012 at 19:30 Complexe Al Houria, Fes
Saturday, November 10, at 19:30 Maison de la culture Mohammed El Menouni Meknès
Monday, November 12, at 19:30 at the National Theatre Mohammed V, Rabat.
Launched in 2008, the Caravan Korea-Arab Friendship aims to promote mutual understanding between Korea and the Arab world through cultural exchanges. This year, the 5th edition of the Caravan goes to Morocco with Korean music and dance troops, especially to celebrate the long history of friendship between the two countries.
The show will be a good opportunity to discover the beauty and exciting sensations aroused by the rhythms refined, catchy melodies and graceful movements and dynamics of traditional Korean arts.
Entry by invitation, Invitation application to 50marocoree@gmail.com. 09 Nov, 19h30 Complexe Al Hourria, VN Fez. Posted 01 & 02 November 2012

 

Jardin Sbil - Pond Refilled

jardin Sbil Pond Refilled late Oct 2012 jardin Sbil Pond Refilled late Oct 2012 Gray Wagtail jardin Sbil Pond Refilled late Oct 2012
The pond at Jardin Sbil was refilled yesterday, 27 Oct, after being drained a couple of months ago for cleaning (see post of 12 Sept 2012). Recent rains have swollen the rivers and the authorities were now able to redivert the river that feeds the pond. The waterfowl, Moorhens & Little Grebes, have yet to return, however the island in the middle of the pond has yet to regrow substantial ground cover that they need for nesting, so hopefully they will return once this happens. we did however spot some Grey Wagtails (photo above). Posted 28 Oct 2012

 

 

Fez Medina Restoration - Place Lalla Yeddouna Project update:

Place Lalla Yeddouna Restoration Fez Morocco Fez Medina Restoration Lalla Yeddouna Place Lalla Yeddouna Restoration Fez Morocco
In early September (see 12 Sept post below) barriers were errected in Place Lalla Yedouna, indicating that work was about to begin on the joinly US Millennium Commission / Moroccan Government funded project for the neighbourhood's restoration. Well, the work has begun at a startling pace and already the whole site has been cleared. The first 2 photos above show the view north from Place LY and over the river towards the current Bin Mildoun parking and we can see that the whole area has been leveled. The third photo has a view from the Andalous side showing the southern part of Place LY. It was clear as the work progressed that most of the buildings cleared were from more recent times, evident from the more modern cement buiding blocks and bricks and the metal suppport beams. Posted 27 October 2012

 

 

Concert Review: Tikrouine and Naji at Hotel Barcelo, Fez 23/10/2012

Tikrouine and Naji, Live 23/10/2012 at Hotel Barceló, Fez MoroccoLast night the Instituto Cervantes Fez presented the 2nd concert in their autumn acoustic music season, at their now regular venue the Hotel Barceló Medina. Duo Tikrouine and Naji put on a mesmerising performance. They played a series of Spanish and Latin influenced pieces from several composers on lute and classical guitar,. The original publicity suggested some Moroccan / Spanish fusion pieces however this really only surfaced in the usage of a lute and not in it's style of playing. They finished the evening with a piece originally written for piano (we didn't get the name of the Madrid composer) that Ablatif Tikrouine adapted for Guitar & Lute. Another excellent concert from the Instituto Cervantes.  Posted 24 October 2012

 

Concert: Tikrouine and Naji (Tues, Oct 23)

Tikrouine and Naji, Tuesday October 23, 19h, Hotel Barceló, Fez MoroccoThe Instituto Cervantes present, as part of their autumn acoustic concert season, the String Duo Tikrouine and Naji. Combining classical guitar and lute, they link classical influences with technical mastery and in a captivating style. Their program that, combines energy and sensuality will include a Latin American Suite by Celso Machado, a Tango from Astor Piazzola, and traditional Moroccan and Spanish Music from Tikrouine & Naji themselves. Concert: Tikrouine and Naji, Tuesday October 23, 19h, Hotel Barceló Medina.  Posted 22 October 2012

 

 

Breaking News: Ryanair

Ryanair logoWe have just heard that Ryanair are to reinstate their London Stansted to Fez flight, beginning (according to Ryanair's website), on 31 March 2013. This is just in time for the 2013 Fes World Sacred Music and Fes Sufi Culture Festivals. However, no flights are as yet available to book from the website. In a further rollback from their June cull of Morocco flights, Ryanair have also announced the recomencement of Marrakech to Valencia (02 April 13), Nador to Madrid (02 April 13), and Oujda to Bruxelles Charleroi (31 Mar '13). We will watch out for any further news and post any updates here. Posted 16 & 17 October 2012

 

 

Book/Food News: A Great Deal on Paula Wolfert's The Food of Morocco

Wolfert, The Food of Morocco, Fez Morocco Books Paula Wolfert is one of the best known writers on Moroccan and Mediterranean Food. Last year she published her most recent book 'The Food of Morocco' and in August 2012 Bloomsbury Publishing launched the a UK Edition with a beautiful cover of a saffron crocus. Now the online and workplace booksellers The Bookpeople are offering the book for £12, a 60% reduction on the £30 cover price, a fantastic deal. Posted 16 October 2012

 

 

 

 

Latin dance Lessons at Instuto Cervantes:

Latin dance, Instituto CFervantes, fez Morocco

The Instituto Cervantes are offering Saturday morning Latin dance classes beginning on 13th October. The separate sessions for teenagers and adults, cost 400 dirhams for 8 1h30 classes. Contact the Instuto Cervantes, 0535 732004, or at 5 Rue Douiat (behind shop Kitea). Posted 05 October 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

Concert Review: Mazij at Dar Batha 29 Sept 2012.

Mazij at Dar Batha, Fez Morocco, 29 Sept 2012

Our third music event of this hectic week was an excellent concert on Saturday evening from Mazij. The quintet, consisting of lute, accordion, vocals and 2 percussionists really enthralled the audience at the sparsely lit Dar Batha. Although the concert was promoted as fusion music, the playing was mostly classical arab / andalusian with the addition of an French accordion player. However the accordion was expertly played like a classical instrument rather than in a French traditional style. The vocals were nicely understated, the lute was perfect, and the percussionists positioned at either end of the quintet created a wonderful stereo effect. A great evening hosted by the Institut Francais Fes, even if the band leader initially offered thanks to the IF Meknes - the rigors of touring!
See our Listings page for other events happening in Fez. Posted 30 Sept 2012

 

 

Clocks/Time Change:

Clock Morocco

The clocks in Morocco go back 1 hour tonight, 3am on Sunday 30th September. This brings Moroccan time in line with GMT, and will mean that Morocco will be 1 hour behind UK/Por/Ire and 2 hours behind CET, for about 4 weeks until the clock changes in Europe at the end of October. Posted 29 September 2012

 

 

 

 

 

Concert Reviews: Clave de son and ‘Les mysteres de l’ouest

Clave de son, 25 Sept 2012, Fez Morocco IFF 27 Sept 2012 Les mysteres de l'ouest 27 sept 2012 Fez Morocco

It’s been a busy music week in Fez. 2 concerts so far this week with another yet to come on Saturday.
Cuban music group, Clave de son were hosted by the Instituto Cervantes on Tuesday (25th Sept) at a packed Hotel Barcelo. As is the norm for all IC concerts the group were all excellent musicians, with 2 guitars, double bass, percussion and vocals. However, the Seville band while all wonderful players just lacked that bit of extra tropical panache that we have come to expect, possibly unjustly, from all Cuban music, due to too many viewings of the classic 'Buena Vista Social Club’. This didn’t seem to make any difference to the many members of the audience who were on their feet dancing.
Composer and artistic director Singhkeo Panya and his ensemble, returned, (on 27th Sept), to a standing room only Dar Batha , to perform the full version of the show ‘Les mysteres de l’ouest’ that we had a taste of, earlier in May. And what a performance, the show consisted of the band playing a musical and vocal soundtrack to a collage old films and documentaries on Morocco that were projected on a cinema sized screen. The music was a mixture of a circus band, Arabic music, and spaghetti western style soundtrack that went well with the images. The band had really tightened since their May musical performance with the players all noticeably following the lead of the projected images. Overall a great evening with a great piece of music composed by Panya. See our Listings page for other Fez events. Posted 27 Sept 2012

 

 

Fez Wildlife - Little Owls

Little Owl Sept 2012 Fez Medina Morocco Little Owl Sept 2012 Fez Medina Morocco Little Owl Sept 2012 Fez Medina Morocco

Over either years we have seen several owls (Arabic, Booma or Mooka) here in Fez medina. Either being surprised by a quick low flyover from a Barn Owl while sat on the terrace on a warm evening, or hearing the lonesome calls while they fly over the medina late at night. However the most visible owl in Fez is also the smallest. The 'Little Owl' is only about the size of a fat blackbird, but it's habit of, just before dusk, perching out in the open in a regular spot, often on a telegraph pole, means that is more likely to be seen. But about 2 weeks ago, just after the dusk call to prayer, on hearing a strange cry on the terrace, we went up to find a 'Little Owl' perched on the old television ariel. A couple of days later we heard the same cries but could not see the bird. We eventually spotted it, well camouflaged, perched on the edge of a hole in a wall that a pair of Lesser Kestrels had nested in this spring. The owl stayed there for a full hour before eventually flying over to a TV ariel, again during the call the prayer. In Morocco, owls are considered to be bringers of bad luck so many people don't like seeing them, and will often try to remove them if they nest near their house, hopefully our new little neighbour will survive. Posted 21 Sept 2012

 

Fez Photo

Fez landmark, Sept 2012 Fez Morocco

Can anyone identify this prominent Fez location? If you think that you recognise it, let us know on Facebook.com/DarAquas. See the more usual view here. Posted 17 Sept 2012 / Updated 30 Sept 2012

 

Institut Francais Fes: Cultural Programme 2012

Institut Francia Fes Prog Sept-Dec 2012

The Institut Francais Fes have released their cultural programme for September to December. The programme consists of the usual eclectic mix of Cinema, Exhibitions, Artist Residencies, Talks/Debates and Performances (Music, Dance etc). The programme does seem a little light on concerts compared to previous years, with the only 2 music events listed being the Dar Batha concerts at the end of this month. The Institut does regularly add new events and this may happen with the popular concert nights. The full programme (en francais) can be seen here, the events are also included on our Listings page. Posted 17 Sept 2012

 

 

 

 

Sport, Football: Moroccan League new season & Atlas Lions coach sacked

Morocco Botola LogoMas Fez team & logo WAF logo Fez MoroccoEric Gerets Morocco manager

Moroccan League new season: This weekend saw the start of the new football season in Morocco. Fez has 2 teams in the top league, the Botola 1. MAS (Maghreb Association Sportive de Fes) and WAF (Wydad Athletic Fes) both play their matches at the Hassan II Complexe de Sport, a modern stadium located in the southern part of the new town, on the road to Sefrou (Trek Sefrou). Both Fassi teams played their first games on Saturday 15th, with MAS drawing 2-2 away to Olympic Khouribga in the afternoon match, and WAF drew 1-1 with newly promoted Raja Beni Mellal at Fes's Hassan II stadium in the evening. We will try and list the fixtures that take place in Fez on our Fez Listings page, however, although a full season fixture list has been published (pdf file here), the exact date and time of matches are not announced until closer to the actual match. 
Atlas Lions manager sacked: Moroccan International Football team coach Eric Gerets has had his contract terminated. The ex-Belgian international had reportedly been one of the best paid international managers in the world, but has had a disastrous time with the Atlas Lions. Morocco had been expected to do well at this year's African Nations Cup (CAN 2012) as many of the continent's football powerhouses has failed to qualify for the finals, but Morocco crashed out in the Group stages. Then in June, 2 draws, away to Gambia and at home to Ivory Coast has made qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil very unlikely. Last week's CAN 2014 2-0 defeat to Mozambique seems to have been the final straw, and the Moroccan Football Federation decided to terminate his contract. Posted 16 Sept 2012

 

Jardin Sbil - Pond Drained

Jardin Sbil Fez Morocco Jardin Sbil pond drained Fez Morocco Jardin Sbil Pond Drained Sept 2012 Fez Morocco

A visit to the Jardin Sbil earlier this week revealed that the large pond that forms the centre of park has been drained, in order for some repair works to be completed. The pond which supported a variety of wildlife had become clogged with green algae in recent months. The park management have also taken the opportunity to clear the small central island of everything bar the palm trees and a couple of small bushes, hopefully this will not adversely impact any of the ground nesting waterfowl. The river that feeds the pond has been diverted upstream (beyond Oued Fes). It is expected that the works should take about another month, after which the pond will be refilled and hopefully we will see the return of the Moorhens, Little Grebes, Frogs, Dragonflies etc. Posted 13 Sept 2012

 

Fez Medina Restoration - Place Lalla Yeddouna Project:

Fez Medina Restoration Lalla Yeddouna Fez Medina Restoration Lalla Yeddouna Fez Medina Restoration Lalla Yeddouna Place Lalla Yeddouna Restoration Fez Morocco
While heading over to Dar Aquas in the Andalous quarter the other day we suddenly came across what we thought was some sort of 'peace wall' to protect the moguls of Fez medina's Kairouine quarter from the residents of the eastern medina. Fortunately, it was nothing so dramatic. The area has been cordoned off as work has now begun on the Place Lalla Yeddouna restoration works. The project is jointly funded by the US Millennium Commission (up to Sept 2013) and the Moroccan government (post Sept 2013) and was subject to a high profile public tendering process before the contract was awarded.
It will be interesting to see how it works out. It is important that the architects achieve an understanding and feel for the district as real living entity and to comprehend how medina life will really interact with the works. Living in Fez medina is markedly different from other places, both the people and the environment, so much so that even a Moroccan who lives in the Ville Nouvelle doesn't really understand the place, they will have an opinion on it, but not many will really know it.
The Architects say their "inspiration comes from the Moroccan Riad" and their plan seems to be to reinvigorate the area with restaurants, cafes, shops, workshops, educational facilities, outdoor galleries etc and for these to attract visitors to the area. It is worth noting that the plan (see Pic 4 above) has trees and benches at the current Bin Mildoun car park, it is not clear if it is proposed to remove this facility, although there are no images of any cars on the plan. The recent removal the Rcif parking caused local traders to complain that this resulted in a big loss of their trade, therefore it would seem more logical to create improved vehicle access if the Architects brief is to attract visitors for the area's new commercial activities.
It is good that the intention is to re-connect the medina with the river,which has over the years been walled off and covered over, and the seeming addition of a discreet walking path next to the river would be a wonderful additional amenity if well maintained post works. It will be really interesting to follow the outcome of this project and to hopefully see all these new facilities being successful, and to achieve the brief of reinvigorating this old medina district. Posted 12 September 2012

 

Fez Cultural Event Season starts again:

Fast Breaking Lime from Fez Medina Souk
With the closures for holidays of the Institut Francais and the Spannish Instituto Cervantes, cultural events have taken a back seat during the summer months. However with both organisations now opening their doors again in September, we can expect things to take off again in earnest.  The Institut Francais have already announced 2 concerts for Dar Batha during the last week of Septmber. On the 27th Septmber we have a multi-media concert from Les mysteres de l'ouest, where live music is mixed with outdoor cinema. Based on their previous music & dance performance at Dar Batha last May this should be an interesting event. Then on 29th September we have Mazij a Classical Arab/Fusion quintet comprising Oud, Accordian, Vocal & Percussion (x2). Although they have yet to announce any events the Instiuto Cervantes usually have some top notch concerts in the autumn. One of the best concerts from last autumn was the Miguel Angel Chastang Quartet that they hosted at the the Al Houria Centre.
Les mysteres de l'ouest 19h Thurs, 27 Sept 2012. Mazij, 19h Sat. 29 Sept, 2012. Institut Français, Dar Batha, 15 Salaj, Batha, Fes Medina.   Posted 10 September 2012
Update: the Instuto Cervantes have just announced their autumn series of 3 concerts, which will be Clave de Son a Cuban Quintet on 25 September, Tikrouine and Naji, a string duo of Classical Guitar & Lute on 23 October, and Che Cabanos and Héctor Braga, playing Asturian Folk on November 20. All concerts begin at 19h and take place at the Hotel Barcelo. Music events hosted by the Instuto Cervantes are always of the highest quality and are not to be missed. They are also showing an autumn series of 5 Latin American fims during November and December . Updated 11 September 2012


 

Food: Moroccan Seasonal Produce

Fez MoroccoDamsons and Quince Fez Morocco Fresh Louisia Attarine souk Fez Morocco Fresh Figs

In the ‘First World’ we are used to going to the supermarket and having most fruits and vegetables available all year round, and in Morocco if you go to a supermarket in one of the big cities it is much the same.   However, in the souks where local produce is sold, it is a very different matter.  Some Moroccan staples such as potatoes, onions, tomatoes are grown all year round and are always on sale although the price does vary with the seasons, but mostly you find only what is currently being harvested. So now (early September) we still  have most of the summer fruits, but in last few weeks we have got figs, damsons, quince, and lovely sweet apples, and towards the end of the month the first pommeagrantes will start to appear.  The fully ripe taste is so wonderful, and the Moroccan climate means that there is always something new around the corner.  Our favourite time is mid-winter when the mandarins come into season, and as soon as they are gone the first strawberries appear.....Mmmmm.  (Photos L to R  Damsons & Quince, Fresh Louisa in Attarine souk, Figs). Posted 06 Sept 2012

 

Clocks/Time Change:

Clock Morocco

Now that Ramadan is over, official Moroccan time returns to summertime. The clocks in Morocco go forward 1 hour tonight, 2am on Monday 20th August. This brings Moroccan time in line with BST (GMT+1), ie. the same as UK/Por/Ire and 1 hour behind CET. All official offices and most large companies follow the new time, however many people in Fez Medina continue to use 'old time'. It is expected that clocks will remain on summertime until 30 September, after which they will go back to GMT. Posted 20 July 2012

 

 

My Ramadan in Morocco Part 4:

Zellige tile mosaic at Dar Aquas Fez Morocco

I witnessed an interesting encounter yesterday.  An old woman has been begging for the last couple of weeks at the entrance to my street, indeed alot more older women seem to have taken up specific begging pitches for Ramadan.  Anyhow a young boy of about 4 is coming towards her eating a sandwich, and at the same time a man passes and she asks him for ‘something’.   The young boy however thinks that she was talking to him, and tears off part of his sandwich  and offers it to her,  however she tells him “Shrukran wil-dee, walakeen kansaim”  (Thank you, my boy, but I am fasting).   Children here are very generous with the little that they have, many times I have been at the hanoot, and a child will buy a couple of sweets and when they turn around and see me they will offer me one.   Sharing is an important aspect of life, there can be a hardness that goes with the poverty,  but there is a natural public generosity here that I rarely see when I travel to to the ‘First World’.
Anyhow, there are only a few days of Ramadan left, and with this week's lovely weather, temps only mid 30s, already a few people are thinking about what they will do when it finishes.  I’ve already been invited to go on a trip to Eastern Morocco, to visit the candle maker who used to work on the street, but has now relocated to run a building supplies business with his brother.   Could be an interesting trip, we’ll see. The seaside also seems appealing. Posted 14 August 2012

 

 

 

 

My Ramadan in Morocco, Part 3:

Fast Breaking Lime from Fez Medina Souk

It’s been hot , very hot, the past few days, the official shaded temperatures have been 44C, and  fortunately we have a lot of shade in Fez medina.  Although the souks are a bit less crowded than usual, it can often be a pinball like experience walking around, especially in the late afternoon when many people seem to be wandering around zombie like, stopping unexpectedly, and veering left and right without looking, similar  I suppose to maneuvering your car among the Fassi petite taxi drivers.  
Every Ramadan I seem to commit the faux pas of eating something in public, just silly things, one year it was tasting a grape in the souk, last year eating a date pastry in our local bakery.  This year I spotted some ‘Limes’ in the souk, my first time seeing the tropical fruit there.  The seller sliced one, and squeezed some juiced on my hand to smell, but my automatic reaction was a quick taste with the tip of my tongue, suddenly I was being grumpily asked “do you have ramadan in your country?”  I took it as a rhetorical question.
Ramadan also brings out more street sellers than usual, and there are some good deals to be had. Some people are just selling a few of their own things to supplement their income, there is less work in Ramadan as some employers  don’t want to pay full wages for a shorter and less productive working day.  But there are also many more teeshirt etc sellers, taking advantage of the huge crowds that gather in the public spaces after f’tour.  I was very happy to get a MAS football shirt for 40 dirham from the steps in Place Seffarine.    Posted 11 August 2012

 

Dar Aquas Restoration - Moroccan Lamps:

Big Moroccan Lamps Big Moroccan Lamp in Courtyard & Balcony Big Moroccan Lamp & Coloured glass keyhole window Big Moroccan Lamp with central 'Rosa'
Lamps & Lighting are an integral part of traditional Moroccan decor. About 18 months ago we got an excellent deal on 5 large old lamps that we thought would be perfect for Dar Aquas. With each lamp being about 1 metre tall they needed a high ceilinged setting. So this week after completing the repairs and a good cleaning the lamps eventually rose to their final resting paces.
Big Moroccan Lamp Big Moroccan Lamp & Keyhole windows Big Moroccan Lamp
  Posted 03 August 2012

 

My Ramadan in Morocco, Part 2:

Fez Medina Bread Comera/BaguettesWe’re 9 days into ramadan, and how have things been.   Well, not too bad really, greatly helped by the wonderful weather we had for the first week.  This time of year we would normally be looking at daytime temperatures averaging about 40°C, however since ramadan started it has been at most low to mid 30s. The old medina staying ever cooler with the narrow shaded streets. Taxis have been more plentiful during the day, due to the lack of the extra lunchtime rush.  So, as long as you don’t get caught out just before F'tour, getting around has been very easy. 
It took a couple of days for shop opening hours to settle down, in La Ville most places now open all day until about 5 with no midday lunch break, and then some re-open again at about 9pm.  In the medina food souks, a mid afternoon rush has replaced the usual mid morning one.  It is unusual seeing boxes of baguettes (Comera). normally eaten for breakfast, for sale on most street corners, replacing  the ubiquitous Moroccan Khobz (a flattish round bread) for the month.    
Although I am not fasting I have had to adjust my eating habits with all my lunchtime places closed.  I usually have a small breakfast of yogurt, fruit and a piece of cake, and then I won’t eat again until the evening, however I do drink. Week 2 is looking like it is going to be hotter so we’ll see if that affects things. Posted 31 July 2012

 

Food: Fresh Almonds

Fez Morocco Fresh AlmondsFez Morocco Fresh AlmondsFez Morocco Fresh Almonds

Came across these little fellas while passing through the Fruit & Veg souk today. I didn't actually spot them myself, it was someone with a bit better eyesight and ingredients knowledge than me, who first saw them in the shadows. They are probably there at the same time every year but this was my very first time seeing Fresh Almonds in the Fez souks. The taste was mild, the almond flavour was very subtle. My companion said they reminded her of the green hazelnuts she had as a child in rural Ireland . Posted 25 July 2012

 

My Ramadan in Morocco:

Zellige tile mosaic at Dar Aquas Fez Morocco

Last Friday  evening, at about 7.30pm, 2 blasts from the canon at Borj Nord, fittingly an armaments museum  which overlooks Fez medina, announced the start of Ramadan 2012.  Some non-muslim foreigners living here in Fez have been known to join the month long fast, however most just use the opportunity to take a long holiday, even more so this year with it coinciding to mid-summer.  However, for me, I will neither be fasting nor have I left.  So how will Ramadan be for me? 
I have now spent several Ramadans here and I don’t expect that this time will be much different, well, except of course the mid-summer Fez heat.  Ramadan is a little exciting at first with people adjusting to fast, and half the medina asking me if am I fasting, “but you’ve lived here so long now, you’re one of us, you should fast as well”, I usually just try to be diplomatic, smile and nod etc, although when I’m trying to be diplomatic  for 8th time by noon, you wonder if it wouldn’t be just easier to join in.
Ramadan in Morocco seems to beyond religion, every Moroccan I know is fasting, even those who normally never go near the mosque, it is almost considered non-Moroccan not to do so.  After the first few days of excitement have worn off, people just settle down into their Ramadan routines, soon we will start to see people with less patience than usual, often smokers who can’t have their 20-a-day fix, I wonder would using nicotine patches constitute fast breaking? I’m sure google would would find me an definitive answer, but I’ll stick for now with just the idea. Posted 23 July 2012

 

 

 

Clocks/Time Change:

Time in Morocco

The clocks in Morocco go back 1 hour tonight, at 3am on Friday 20th July, in preparation for Ramadan. This brings Moroccan time in line with GMT, ie. 1 hour behind UK/Por/Ire and 2 hours behind CET. This will bring sunset forward by 1 hour, therefore making F'tour (breaking of the fast) earlier, although it will make no diffrence to the total fasting period which is from sunrise to sunset. Many people in Fez Medina have continued to use 'old time' anyhow so won't have to adjust their watches/phones. Clocks will return to summertime (GMT +1 hour) after Ramadan. Posted 19 July 2012

 

Sport: Watching Le Tour De France 2012 in Morocco

Tour de France 'Bonjour' logoNow that Euro 2012 has finnished, sports fans will be looking for a new fix. Fortunately the 2012 Tour de France has just started. In Morocco television coverage will be via France 2 (on Nilesat) or Eurosport (Astra 1 & Hotbird). Both channels have comprehensive coverage, with each stage broadcast live every day. The first week has relatively flat stages, however the first 2 mountainous stages (Stages 7 & 8) on Sat 7th & Sun 8th July should see the start of serious racing for the overall classiment. Tour De France 2012, July 01 - 22. Posted 02 July 2012

 

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Travel News: Ryanair make cuts to Morocco flights

Ryanair logoRyanair announced today that they are to cut some services to Morocco after the airline claimed in their press release that the Moroccan Airports Authority (ONDA) "reneged on an agreement" to keep cost levels low. It seems that an initial agreement with Ryanair has come to an end, and the airline can no longer be guaranteed the low cost levels they were initially given. Ryanair are well known for their very tough bargaining stances and have now decided to discontinue some of their Moroccan flights. For Fez this means the discontinuation of the important London Stansted route and a reduction in the Brussels Charleroi route. It will also result in a discontinuation of all flights to Oujda, of the Marrakech - Valencia route, several reductions at Nador, and reductions in the Marrakech-London Luton and Tangier-Madrid routes. Lets hope that there is a change of mind somewhere as this will be a blow to the Fez tourism industry. Read Ryanair's full statement here. A reply (pdf file in French) from ONDA can be found herePosted 28 June 2012/Updated 30 June 2012

 

Music Review: Andalucia Brass Quintet @ Barcelo Hotel, Fez, 26/06/2012

Andalucia Brass Quintet,  Fez, Morocco 26 June 2012When the Instituto Cervantes put on a concert, you know that you will be getting top notch musicians and last night was true to form with a great performance from the Andalucia Brass Quintet.  The group consisted of 2 Trumpets, Trombone, Euphonium, and French Horn.  They played 2 sets, the first mostly less well known pieces from Howarth, Albenez and others.  Then, after a short break, a second set of more famous works, including Bizet’s Carmen and Verdi’s ‘Aida’.  They finished  the evening with a Paso doble, which encouraged some audience members to provide dance accompaniment.  The new venue also worked well,  a small stage would be useful, but that didn’t detract from a wonderful concert  from very talented musicians. Photo from mobile phone, click for full group pic. Posted 27 June 2012

 

Football: Watching Euro 2012 in Morocco

Euro 2012 logoI am sitting here in Fez, as the opening game of Euro 2012, Poland vs Greece is kicking off. Many of us want to follow the progress of our home teams in the competition, and although the tournament is not being shown on Moroccan domestic television, fortunately there are other easy viewing options. All the group matches are being shown on 'Free to Air' German television channels which are available in Morocco on the Astra1 satellite. The 2 channels Das Este and ZDF cover all the matches between them, the commentary is of course in German. If English commentary is must, then there are pay channels Al Jazeera Sports +9/+10/Euro2012 which usually have an English commentary in their audio options. Many matches are also being shown in most Moroccan cafes. Some of the more interesting upcoming games include;
July 01, 19h45 Final of Euro 2012. Spain v Italy TV ZDF & AlJazeera +9/+10/Euro2012
Posted 6 June. Updated 29 June 2012

 

Concert

Andalucia Brass Quintet Fez june 2012 FlyerClassical: Andalucia Brass Quintet 'Summer' concert presented by the Instituto Cervantes. Tuesday 26 June, 19h, Barcelo Medina Hotel. Based in Seville, this quintet originated in the Academy of Orchestral Studies of the Barenboim-Said Andalucian Public Foundation.  Led by professor of trombone, Francis Blay, who also a member of the Royal Seville Symphony Orchestra, the quintet will play works specifically written for brass as well as of chamber music from composers such as Bizet & Verdi, and more modern compositions from the 20th century. The Barcelo Medina is new venue for music in Fez so it will be interesting to see how it works, however concerts from the Instituto Cervantes are always of the highest quality. Click on image for larger size Posted 18 May 2012/Updated 25 June

 

 

Concerts: Dar Batha Nights

Dar Batha Nights, May 2012, fez, MoroccoInstitut Francais Fes have announced the line up for their new late night music sessions at Dar Batha during the 2012 Fes World Sacred Music Festival. Running parallel to the Festival the concerts will be a celebration of the ancestral Moroccan musical heritage.
June 10, 22h30 Bnet (girls) Gnawa (Meknes) with Amina Chraibi (Fez) Art Exhib launch
Review: Good concert by the malem & young women of Bnet Gnawa at Dar Batha last night. They were a little nervous starting off but once they warmed-up, things got going. Some 'interesting' audience participation as well.
June 11, 22h30 Issawa Brotherhood of Abdel Fettah Alami, with diff percussions instrmts
June 12, 22h30 Ahl Touat (Ouazzane) with their 'dancing sticks'
June 13, 22h30 The Maalmat of Meknes, female group
June 14, 22h30 Hmadcha of Fes, sharing their songs, their insights, and their legends
Sun-Thurs, June 10-14, 22h30, Dar Batha, free entrance
. Posted 05 June 2012/Last Update 11 June 2012

 

Football: World Cup 2014 Morocco 2-2 Ivory Coast

World Cup Brazil 2014 Logo09 June 2012, Marrakech: Morocco 2 (Kharja, Abourazzouk) - Ivory Coast 2 (Kalou, Toure). Last night in Marrakech, Hamzza Abourazzouk scored a late 89' min equaliser to salvage Morocco a 2-2 draw in their African Group C qualifying match for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. After a disapointing 1-1 draw in Gambia last weekend, this result leaves Morooco, on 2 points after 2 games, with only a slim chance of qualifying, as only the group winners progress to the next stage. With Didier Drogba's Ivory Coast unlikely to slip up aganist the other group teams of Gambia and Tanzania, Morocco will probably need to beat Ivory Coast in their return match in September next year, in order to qualify. The result also puts extra pressure on Morocco's unpopular Belgian coach Eric Gerets. CAF WC2014 Results & Tables here. Posted 10 June 2012

 

 

Exhibition - Sara Dolatabadi

Sara Dolatabadi June July 2012 Fez, Morocco Sara Dolatabadi June July 2012 Fez, Morocco Sara Dolatabadi June July 2012 Fez, MoroccoInstallation: Sara Dolatabadi was born in 1978 in Tehran. She studied painting at the University of Tehran Azad ART. In her artistic works including paintings and installations, Sara Dolatabadi focuses on life in modern society and cultural identity. Institute Francias Gallery, June 15 - July 27. Launch 19h 15 June.  Posted 07 June 2012

 

Concert, Piano

Duo Ykeda, June 2012, Fez, MoroccoInstitut Francais Fes: Duo Ykeda are specialists in piano music for four hands (a piano duet), a musical form that has a large and wonderful repertoire. Programme:
- Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring for piano duet (original version).
- George Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue, arranged for piano duet.
- Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring for piano duet (original version)
Tuesday, June 05, 19h, Hotel Palais Jamai. Posted 04 June 2012

 

 

Fez Sacred Music Festival

Bjork, Fez MoroccoBjork The Icelandic singer who is due to headline this year's Fez Scared Music Festival, has cancelled several major concerts for June and July of this year. According to a statement on 10 May on her facebook page "after 2 weeks of voice rest i went to my vocal doctor and she came to this conclusion : I need to rest for 6 more weeks . the good news is that we both feel pretty confident i can start singing fully healed in the middle of June". The cancelled concerts include Primavera Festival dates in early June and the Hungarian Balaton Sound Festival in mid July. No mention is being made of the Fez concert. In 2010 Ben Harper cancelled his headling Fes Festival concert, after a skateboarding accident, with the Festival organisers being very fortunate to get Malian duo Amadou and Mariam to repalce him at only a few days notice. According to the Fez Sacred Music website Bjork is listed to play in Fez on 15th June. Posted 29 May 2012

 

Film Noir Festival:

Fez Film Nor Festival, June 2012, Fez Moroccp

The Institut Francais have been very pro-active in promoting Film this year, with several festivals from various genres. But for me, this coming weekend's Festival of the Film Noir is the highlight. Whereas, we all have our favourites from the genre, over the 3 days we get a varied choice, from both a stylistic and geographical viewpoint. From Hawks original 1932 Scarface to John Woo's 80s/90s stylistic and usually bloody productions. Institut Francais presents, from June 1-3 Daily, 2 daily screenings, Cinema Rex, Fez VN. A discussion will follow each film. Full festival programme and details here.
June 01, Friday, 17h Le Samourai (France 1967), 1930h: Scarface (USA 1932)
June 02, Saturday, 17h: The Killer (Hong Kong 1989), 1930h Animal Kingdom (Australia 2010)
June 03, Sunday, 17h:The Yards (USA 2000), 1930h: Hana-bi (Japan 1997) Posted 29 May 2012

 

Sport: Football Updated

WAF Fes Logo, Football Fez MoroccoWAF Fez v JSM Laayoune: This weekend sees the final round of matches in this year's Botola (Moroccan League), On Monday evening FUS Rabat play MAT Tetouan with FUS, needing a win to pip MAT to the title. However on Sunday evening in Fez we have the match to decide who stays in the top disivion. IZK Khemisset have already been relegated, but the final relagation place is between WAF, (the smaller of Fes' 2 teams) and JSM Laayoune. JSM currently lie only 1 point and 1 place above WAF, so it is all down to this one match. There are also rumours circulating that FAR, the strong military team currently based in Rabat, could be moved to Layoune, bringing an extra demension to the tie. So a big night for Fes football on Sunday at the Hassan II Sports Complexe, Trek Sefrou. WAF V JSM, 27 May 2012, 20h. TV live coverage on Arriadia.  Posted 24 May 2012
Update WAF 3-0 JSM Laayoune. WAF comfortably beat JSM tonight to remain in Botola 1, JSM are relegated to Botola 2. WAF took the lead in 1st half added time with a goal from Abdesalam Ben Jelloun. They extended their lead after 48 mins though Al Maziry. However the game was effectively over mid way through the 2nd half when JSM had a player sent off. Yousef Anouar scored in added time to make the final score 3-0.  In Monday night's Botola decider, MAT Tetouan beat FUS Rabat 1-0 to win this year's championship. Updated 27 & 28 May 2012

 

Fashion Show

Fes Fashion Show, May 2012, Fez MoroccoFashion day: 3 Designers, Institut Francais Fes presents a Fashion Day, comprising 3 Designers. Karina Duebner, her fashion label, ‘Daughters of Tamerlane’, incorporates the mid 19th century and Asian textile in contemporary design. Thai designer, Anan Sorsutham has his own brand: "I anan".  He plays with traditions by changing materials or traditional forms to make quite contemporary and original clothing.  Mahmoud Benslimane, a young Moroccan designer from Tangiers, is known for, mixed and sensual clothing. He has produced several collections including "Tingitanas" and "Kashlabas" and "Jodour". Saturday 26 May, 17h, Jardin du Biehn, 13, Akbat Sbaa Douh, 30110 - Medina, Fez. You can get there by going to Sid El Khayat in Batha, and then taking the street to the right of Dar Tazi. Posted 21 May 2012
**Invitations are now required to attend Saturday's (26 May) Fashion Show, they are available from the Institut Francais office at 33 Rue Loukili, near La Fiat roundabout.  Updated 23 May 2012

 

Exhibition

Art Exhibition, May 2012, Fez MoroccoUncovering Eve, Women artists of 20th & 21st Centuries: Gallery Instituto Cervantes, Thursday 31 May until 04 July, daily 09-19h. Exhibition showing how women artists have developed in the avant-garde art world since the early 20th century, when prominent women artists emerged, up to today where women and men artists exhibit in equal numbers. The exhibition includes a selection of works by women artists from 1930-2010, like Frida Kahlo, Maria Antonia Dans, Esther Ferrer, Concha Jerez, Eva Lootz, Marina Nuñez, Naia del Castillo, Diana Larrea, etc.. Curator Marisa Oropesa. will be present at the opening of the exhibition.  Posted 23 May 2012

 

 

Comic Art Festival:

'Bubbles in the city'. The Institut Francais Fes present the 5th edition of the Fes Festival of theComic Art Festival, May 2012, Fez Morocco Comic Book. The comic book is often a meeting point for diverse groups, where the writer meets the artist, and where both the young and old find enjoyment. The festival will include workshops, meetings, events, exhibitions, debates, screenings and performances. May 15-18, Institut Français Mediatheque & Galerie Kacimi. See the full programme here Posted 12 May 2012

 

 

Science:

DNA, Morocco

Interesting popular science article on genetics from the Irish Times on Scottish and Irish DNA with a surprising little Moroccan twist. Read more here Posted 06 May 2012

 

 

Film Festival: Animation

Festival of Animation, May 2012, Fez Morocco

From May 07-09, the Institut Français Fes present a 11 film restropective of 11 years of the Meknes International Festival of Animation (FICAM) which first started in 2001. Daily, 3 Screenings, Cinema Rex, Fez VN.
May 07 9h: Ma Petite planete cherie, 15h: Un vie de chat, 19h: Les Tombeau des lucioles
May 08 9h: Kirikou et le sorciere, 15h: L'ile de black mor, 19h: Gasho le violoncelliste
May 09 9h: Meli Pain d'espices, L'hiver de leon 15h: Prince Loseno, L'homme qui plantait des arbes, 19h: Azur et Asmar Posted 06 May 2012


Book/Food News

Wolfert, The Food of Morocco, Fez Morocco Books Bloomsbury Publishing have announced a UK edition of Paula Wolfert's The Food of Morocco for August 2012, with a very nice saffron crocus on the cover. Wolfert, who has been producing books on Morocco and Mediterranean food for many years launched the 520 page US edition last autumn, and now UK readers & cooks will have a chance of getting their own copy. Read more here. Posted 03 May 2012

 

 

 

Article: Paul Bowles Music Man:

Bowles 1959 Intinerary

Paul Bowles is known to most of us for his novels and short stories, including his Fez based novel The Spider's House. Bowles was also a serious composer, having been mentored by Aron Copeland, he composed music for various theatrical productions. However, possibly more importantly for us today, he created an extensive catalogue of Moroccan music for the US Library of Congress Archive of Folk Song. He also played a major role in promoting traditional Moroccan music, through his championing of the The Master Musicians of Jajouka. This article from a 1996 issue of Saudi Aramco, looks at Bowles' musical side, including his Rockefeller Foundation/US LoC funded 1959 recording trip around Morocco.  Click here to read the full article. 
The web site ‘The Music of Morocco by Paul Bowles’ hopes to make the full LoC Morocco archive available online in the near future.  The photo above left is Bowles original itinerary map for his 1959 recording trip. Posted 01 May 2012

 

Conference: Symposium on the Marriage of young girls: Legal and socio-cultural perspectives. 05 & 06 May, 2012, Palais des Congrès, Hotel Jnane Palace, Fes. Click here for pdf of full programme. Posted 29 April 2012

 

Clocks/Time Change:

Time in Morocco

Tonight the clocks in Morocco go forward +1 hour, at 2am on Sunday 29th April we move to summertime. This brings Moroccan time in line with BST (UK/Por/Ire) and 1 hour behind CET. Interestingly many people in Fez Medina continue to use 'old time' and don't adjust their watches/phones. However all official establishments incl schools banks, government offices, trains etc. move to new time, as do all businesses in the Ville Nouvelle. Of course the calls to prayer are based on the sun so they stay constant in real time. Posted 28 April 2012

 

 

Film Festival: Documentary

Morocco Books

From April 28-May 04, the Institut Français present the week long Fez International Festival of Documentary Film, this year under the theme of the Arab Spring. The festival will feature several Moroccan made productions, and films from France, Italy, Switzerland, Senegal, Egypt, Algeria and Lebanon, and a showing of a special Al-Jazeera Arab Spring Documentary. The Festival will also feature a Round Table event, and a Masterclass by Lebanese filmmaker Ghassan Salhab. Daily, 2 Screenings 17h & 19h, Free Entry Cinema Rex, Fez VN. Full PDF of programme available here. Posted 27 April 2012

 

Sport Football, African Champions League:

Sport Football African champions League, MAS Fes Zamalek, Fez Morocco

At 5pm this Saturday, 28 April, MAS Fes meet Egyptian side Zamalek in the African Champions League. In the 2 legged affair (return match in Cairo on 11th May), the winner will qualify for the final 8 team group stages of the competition. Last season MAS won both the African Confederation Cup (equiv. Europa Lge) and the African Super Cup, and although they have had a less successful domestic league season, they have continued to excel in African competitions. It will be a tough game for MAS against a side that feature well known Egyptian internationals such as Mir Zaki and Mido (ex Ajax/Spurs). The other Fez side WAF Fes, who are currently in a relegation fight, play Botala league leaders 'FUS' in Rabat on Sunday. Both matches will be shown on Moroccan sports channel Arriadia (Nilesat). Mas Fes v Zamalek, 28/04/2012, 17h, Complexe du Sport Hassan II, Trek Sefrou, Fez . Posted 26 April 2012
Both games ended 2-0 to Zamelek, giving the Egyptian side a 4-0 aggregate win over over the 2 games.
Updated 15 May 2012

 

Flamenco Festival Fez:

The Fez Flamenco Festival, 2-5 May 2012, Fez, Morocco

Instituto Cervantes presents The Fez Flamenco Festival, 2-5 May 2012, Cultural Centre al Hourria, concerts daily at 19h, Pass for all 4 concerts 100 dhm, available in adv from Instituto Cervantes 5, Rue Douiat, Résidence Walili, VN (behind 'Kitea')
May 02, 19h Concert: "Go with God: Antonio Andrade and Company" Music/Dance/Song,
May 03, 19h 2 Shows by talented young flamenco artists Dance/Percussion/Guitar, Song/Guitar,
May 04, 19h "Oranges in the snow" Fusion Jazz/Flamenco Song/Guitar
May 05, 19h Manuel Linan and company" Dance/Guitar/Song.

Posted 25 April 2012

 

Architecture:

Moroccan Ecological Architecture. 25-28 April. Poster, Fez, Morocco

Conference / Symposium, Moroccan Ecological Architecture. 25-28 April. International and national experts, will present their achievements and demonstrate their experience in sustainable development projects. Issues covered will include use of natural materials, urban population density, satellite towns etc. The 1st session 'Issues of Economy and Environment' will take place at Musee Batha, 25 Apr, 9h-12h. Places are limited, register at laylaskali@gmail.com. Posted 24 April 2012

 

 

 

Crafts:

Laying Zellige (tiles), Fez Morocco

Interesting article on the craft of Zellig (Moroccan Tiles) in Fez from the June 2001 issue of Saudi Aramco magazine. click here. You can also see some photos of the tile cutting process on the Dar Aquas Facebook page. Posted 22 April 2012

 

 

 

Culture:

Institut Français Cultural programme for April - July 2012, Fez Morocco

New Institut Français Cultural programme for April - July now available. Highlights include, a Documentary Film week with a focus on the Arab Spring 28 April-04 May, a Film Noir Festival 1-3 June, and 'Dar Batha Nights' during the Fes Sacred Music Festival 10-14 June. Click on photo for pdf of the full programme. Posted 20 April 2012

 

 

 

 

Literary Festival:

Morocco Books Fez Literary Festival April 2012

The fourth edition of the Fez Festival of the Mediterranean Book will begin this Saturday, with this year’s theme being based on the Moroccan diaspora and cross cultural issues.  2 of the event's sponsors  Institut Français and the Cervantes Institute are also holding associated events/talks both before and during the Festival.    21 to 26 April 2012, Al Hourria Cultural Centre, behind the big mosque at the junction of Lalla Meriem/Place Kennedy, Ville Nouvelle, Fez. Posted 18 April 2012

 

 

Concert:

Begench Gueldyev, April 2012, Fez Morocco

Classical Piano: Begench Gueldyev returns to Fez, following his very successful January recital. Friday, 20 April, 19h Palais Jamai, Bab Guissa, Fes Medina. Begench Gueldyev began playing piano at age 7. His studied at the PI Tchaikovsky Conservatory from 1988 to 1994 and was awarded Certificates of Excellence in the following disciplines: piano - concert, chamber music (vocal and instrumental) and teaching. In 1997, he received first prize at the Gerona International (Spain), and he later became Professor of Piano at the prestigious "Central School of Music" PI Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. He is currently professor of piano at the Conservatoire Royal Guard in Rabat, and has performed as a recitalist and soloist in Morocco. An Institut Français event in partnership the Russian Centre of Science and Culture in Rabat. Posted 17 April 2012

 

History: Interesting article on England's historical links with Morocco from the excellent Saudi Aramco magazine. click here. Posted 15 April 2012

Film: 'Polisse' @ Cinema Rex VN, Fes Tonight 11 April, 19h Institut Français event. Posted 11 April 2012Film 'Polisse', April 2012, Fez Morocco

Festival: Fez Festival of Sufi Culture, this weekend Fri 12 - Sun 14 April, click here. Posted 09 April 2012

Film Night:

Clermont-Ferrand International Festival of the Short Film, April 2012, Fez Morocco

This Friday, 6th April, the Institut Français Fes presents a marathon night of film from the Clermont-Ferrand International Festival of the Short Film.  In an extensive programme of almost 6 hours there are short-films in 3 categories;
1. From the 2010 CF Festival, films made by Moroccans who live abroad.
2. Best winning films from the CF Festival (up to 2011),
3. Best Films from the 2012 CF Festival
The full programme is available here
19.00h, Friday, 06 April 2012, at Dar Batha, Institut Français, 15 Salaj, Batha, Fes Medina.  (Street opp. Hotel Batha). Posted 02 April 2012

 

 

Summertime GMT+1 - Clocks forward in Morocco, possibly 28 April 2012. From checking the times of Ryanair flights from Fez it seems that the clocks will go forward 1 hour on the night of Sat 28th April 2012, bringing the time to GMT+1, the same as UK/Ire/Por. Posted 31 March 2012

Film Festival:

Clermont-Ferrand International Festival of the Short Film, March 2012, Fez Morocco

This weekend 30 & 31 March, the Institut Français presents films from The Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, at Cinema Rex, Fez VN. 3 adult & 3 children's screenings. Full PDF of programme available here. Posted 27 March 2012

 

 

Photo Exhibition:

Ombres et lumières by Gérard Chemit, March 2012, Fez Morocco

Médina de Fès, Ombres et lumières by Gérard Chemit. It was very interesting to speak to the photographer Gérard Chemit at the opening and to hear his opinion of his subject - Fez Medina. 27 March until 13 April, Institut Français Gallery (nr La Fiat, Fez VN). Worth a visit. Posted 27 March 2012

 

Travel: Fez/Pisa: as of 26th March, Ryanair re-instigated the Fez-Pisa (Italy) route with 2 flights per week, Mondays & Fridays. Posted 26 March 2012

Concert: Fez has 2 Hip Hop/Slam events this coming Saturday 24 March. At 18.00 in Dar Batha (Institut Français) there is a Slam performance from the participants of this week's Francophone Week Slam workshops, and at 19.00 at the Al Hourria Centre, VN, there is the Fez area heat for this year's Generation Mawazine competition. Posted 19 March 2012

Fez News: Souk Sellaline

Souk Sellanine, March 2012, Fez Morocco Souk Sellanine,  March 2012, Fez MoroccoSouk Sellaline at the top of Talaa Kibera has been cleared (see photos above). About half the Fruit & Veg vendors have been moved to a new joyteya just inside Bab Mahrouk, the remaining unhappy vendors have no new place. Many stories circulating... Posted 16 March 2012

Festivals: Upcoming Festivals in Fez include the Fez Festival of Sufi Culture April 12 -14, Fez Flamenco Festival May 02-05, Fez Sacred Music Festival June 08-16. Posted 16 March 2012

Review: Visited the Cervantes Institute Al-Andalus art exhibition today. Really liked the photo-realistic type works of Mohamed Filali Fakir, the Fes Medina paintings of Najib Ghissassi (though they are cleaner versions of their medina settings), and the smokey action feel to the paintings of Abdelali Belal. Until 15th March. Posted 27 February 2012

Festival: Fes Music Festival 2012, programme just released, includes Bjork, Joan Baez, and nice to see the return of jazz great Archie Shepp. Posted 01 February 2012

Concert: Concert: Dj ClicK meeting: the Moroccan Hamadcha Sufi brotherhood of Fez. Saturday, February 11, 19.30, French Institute, Dar Batha, 15 Salaj, Fes Medina (small street directly opp Hotel Batha). Posted 30 January 2012

Concert:  Singer, La Grande Sophie. Friday, February 10, 1900h, Cultural Complex Al Hourria, (behind big Mosque at end Rue Lalla Miriem) Fes VN. French Institute event. Posted 30 January 2012

Concert: Folk, Contradanza. Tuesday 31 January, 19.00H, Institute Cervantes, 5, Rue Douiat, Fes VN (directly behind Kitea). Posted 22 January 2012

Exhibition: The influence of Al Andalus in current Moroccan art. An exhibition of works by six Fassi artists. Institute Cervantes, 5, Rue Douiat, Fes VN (directly behind Kitea). Opens Thursday 26 January and runs until 15 March. Posted 22 January 2012

Concert: Jazz Oriental, Jasser Haj Youssef Quartet, Violin, Piano, D.Bass, & Drums. Tuesday 24 January, 19.00h, French Institute, Dar Batha, 15 Salaj, Fes Medina (small street directly opp Hotel Batha). Posted 19 January 2012

Film: The Artist, the mostly 'silent movie' that is a favourite for the 'Oscars'. Wednesday, January 18, 19.00h, at the Cinema Rex, near the roundabout on Ave Mohamed V, Fez VN. A Institute Français event. Posted 16 January 2012

Concert: Classical Piano: Begench Gueldyev, presented by the Institute Français in partnership with the Russian Cultural Centre in Rabat. Friday, January 13, 19.00h, French Institute, Dar Batha, 15 Salaj, Fes Medina (small street directly opp Hotel Batha). Posted 03 January 2012

 

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