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News Stories from 2013 - for latest stories see here. Older stories are on these pages 2011, 2012.

 

Culture: Recontre Internationales de la photo de Fes

2014 Fez Festival of World Sacred MusicThe 7th Recontres Internationales de la photo de Fes takes place in 5 venues in both the Ville Nouvelle and the Medina from 6th to 30th December.
Over the past week we have managed to get to 4 of the exhibitions. Our first visit was to the Complexe Culturel Sidi Mohammed Ben Youssef to see the installation works of Laurent Pernot. The 5 darkish pieces seemed to represent issues such as creation, decay & distruction. The window piece was one of our favourites.
After this we made our way up to the Association Fes Saiss Gallery at Sid El Khayat in Batha. Here there were several installations (Video/Sound), by Cecile Babiole, Laurant Mareschal, & Stephane Trosis Carres. Marceschal's piece of outdoor Christmas lights set to the music of Godspeed You Black Emperor was the most intrguing for us.
On our 3rd stop we visited Galerie Kacimi to see the works of Bernard Plossu & Lamia Naji. Downstairs, Plossu's mostly black & white photos included many from Morocco of the mid 70's, some showing the changes in Moroccan society since that time, he also has some later photos from Mexico & France. Upstairs Naji's coulourful photos seem to be from a single day at a music event, possibibly in Casa, showing young people with their many varied fashions, contrasting with some of the more traditional scenes of Plossou. Naji also has a short video montage of many of the the same images, if it's not showing, ask the guardian and he will arrange to turn it on.
Finally we visited the galerie of The Institut Francais to see the photos of Celine Croze. The photos of Casablana street scenes and life are printed 2 per sheet on black paper and imounted in glass covered frames, this made them very difficult to view due to reflections through the galery's large window, much of the time we seemed to be looking at an image of the buildings opposite rather than the photos.
We did not get to the 5th exhibition, Hassan Ouazzani's, L'Boulvard 2013.
See Dar Aquas' Fez Listings page for more events in Fez.
Posted 14 December 2014

 

Culture: Line-up for 2014 Fez Festival of World Sacred Music announced

2014 Fez Festival of World Sacred MusicThe Fez Festival of World Sacred Music has announced the line-up for the 2014 event. The festival which takes place from 13th to 21st June 2014, is themed around the famous Persian epic poem The Conference of the Birds.
International highlights include ex Led Zeppelin lead man Robert Plant who closes the festival at Bab Makina on the 21st June. Also appearing on June 15 are the renowned US ensemble The Kronos Quartet, known for their creative approach to classical music, their soundtrack for the film Requiem for a Dream is a favourite at Dar Aquas. The well known Irish traditional music group Altan perform an afternoon concert at Dar Batha on June 16.
See below for the full list of performances, they are also included on our Fez Listings/Events page.

20th Fes Festival of World Sacred Music, 13-21 June 2014, Fez, Morocco
June 13, Concert, Opening Night Spectacle, 21h Bab Al Makina
June 14, Concert, Kronos Quartet (USA) & Hamayun Sakhi (Afghanistan), 16h Musée Batha
June 14, Concert, Tenor Roberto Alagna (France), 21h Bab Al Makina
June 15, Concert, Christine Salem (Reunion), 16h Musée Batha
June 15, Concert, Rokia Traore (Mali), 21h Bab Al Makina
June 16, Concert, Altan (Ireland), 16h Musée Batha
June 16, Concerts, Night in the Medina 1, 3 venues
June 16, Nouhaila Al Kalai & The Great Voices of Malhoun (Morocco), 20h & 22h, Dar Adiyel
June 16, Les Masques de la Lune (Burkina faso), 20h & 22h, Dar Mokri
June 16, Tomatito (Spain), 21h, Musée Batha
June 17, Concert, Jodie Savall - Marie Nostrum (Spain) with Lior Elmalel (Israel), 16h Musée Bathal
June 17, Concert, Night in the Medina 2, 3 Medina venues
June 17, Leili Anwar (Iran) - The Conference of the Birds, 20h & 22h, Dar Adiyel
June 17, The Choir of Saint Ephraim (Hungary), 20h & 22h, Dar Mokri
June 17, Youssou N'Dour (Senegal), 21h, Musée Batha
June 18, Concert, Night in the Medina 3, 3 Medina venues
June 18, Bardic Divas (Kazakhstan), 20h & 22h, Dar Adiyel
June 18, Chants Sacre Gitans (France), 20h & 22h, Dar Mokri
June 18, Zakir Hussain (India), 21h, Musée Batha
June 19, Concert, Ishraq (Yemen), 16h Musée Batha
June 19, Concert, An Evening of Andalusian Judaeo-Arabic Music, 21h Bab Al Makina
June 20, Concert, Reza Khan & Asif Ali Khan - Qawwali (Pakistan), 16h Musée Batha
June 20, Concert, An Evening of Arabic Music, Moroccan & Arab World artists, 21h Bab Al Makina
June 21, Concert, Ustad F. Wasifuddin Dagar (India), 10h, Musée Batha
June 21, Concert, Ancient Music of France Ensemble (France), 16h Musée Batha
June 21, Concert, Robert Plant (UK), 21h Bab Al Makina

Posted 04 & 05 December 2014


Note there have been many changes to the Festival programme since this original list was released, see our Listings page for the most recent line-up

 

 

Clocks/Time Change for October 2013:

Time in Morocco

The clocks in Morocco go back 1 hour tomorrow, at 2am on Sunday 27 October. This brings Moroccan time in line with GMT, ie.keeping the same time as UK/Por/Ire and 1 hour behind CET. This will bring sunset forward by 1 hour. We can expect the clocks to change again on 30 March, 2014 after the Moroccan goverment recently announced that they intend to bring time changes in line with those in Europe. We can of course expect again the temporary time changes for Ramadan ( ≈28/06 to 27/07, 2014). Posted 26 October 2013

 

 

 

Classical Music feast in Fez this week

Piano Cocert, Yusuke Ishii, 09 Oct 2013, 19h, Dar Batha, Fez, Morocco Royal Symphonic Orcherstra, 10 Oct 2013, 20h, Complexe Cultural Al Hourria, Fez Morocco

This coming week is a treat for classical music fans in Fez.
On Wednesday 9th we have a piano concert from Yusuke Ishii. The pianist was born in Tokyo and trained at the University of Music in Kunitachi (Tokyo) and the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris. He has an interest in some of the lessor known piano composers such as Erkki Melartin, Stefan Wolpe, Gustav Holst & Aaron Coplan, so we should be in for an interesting evening.
Then on Thursday 10th we have concert from the soloists from the Royal Symphonic Orchestra of Morocco. The orchestra under the directorship of Oleg Reshetkin is composed of Moroccan and foreign musicians. On this visit to Fez the musicians will play pieces from Mozart and Beethoven.

Oct 09, Piano Concert , Yusuke Ishii, 19h, Dar Batha, an Institut Francais de Fes event, Admission Free
Oct 10, Classical Concert , Royal Symphonic Orchestra, 20h, Complexe Culturel Al Houria, Admission 150 dhm
For a full list of events in Fez see our Dar Aquas Listings page.
Posted 06 October 2013

 

 

Moussem Moulay Idriss II, Fez Medina, 26 Sept 2013 - some photos

Start of Moulay Idriss Moussem parade Preparing to pass VIP stand at Moulay Idriss Moussem parade Bull being led through Fez medinaSpectators and partipating band Spectators watching Moussem Moulay Idriss Percussion band at Moussem Moulay IdrissMusicans on horses at Moussem Moulay Idriss Crowds heading down Talaa Sighira towards Mosque Moulay Idriss
Above are a few snaps that we took at the start of the parade of the Moussem of Moulay Idriss II in Fez medina on 26 September 2013. Click on photographs for a larger size.
The moussem takes place in late September / October of each year and the parade begins outside Place Boujuloud before passing by the VIP viewing platform in the square and then going through Bab Boujuloud into the medina proper and then making their way down Talaa Sighira towards the Mosque/Zaouia of Moulay Idriss in the old centre of the medina. Posted 30 September 2013

 

 

Cultural Events in Fez Autumn 2013

Spapmaking at Dar Aquas, Fez, Morocco Institut Francais Fes Instituto Cervantes Fez

With this week’s rain showers signaling the end of summer and the approach of autumn we also see the return of the cultural and sporting events that have been mostly absent during August and early September,

Here at Dar Aquas we launch a new schedule of Soap Making Workhops, available each Friday and on other days by appointment, have a look at our Courses page for further details. Next week (17th Sept) the Instituto Cervantes are running a Spanish Cookery workshop  at the Hotel Barceló.  From the 20th – 27th Sept  ‘A Gathering in Fez [GIF] A gathering of creative & visionary friends in Fez’. takes place at Dar Hajj/Blue Box Project in the Oued R’chacha district of the medina, see their Facebook page for more information.  On 21st September the first Fez football derby of the season  between MAS & WAF takes place at the Complex Hassan II on Trek Sefrou, and with 2 Fes teams in the 1st Division this means that there should be a top game in Fes most weekends throughout the 2013/14 Botola.  September 27th sees the launch of the Institut Francais’ first exhibition of the season, mixed media pieces from Soukaina Joual & Yassine Khaled.

October sees the Instituto Cervantes launch an interesting sounding exhibition of ‘Spanish Design in the kitchen’.  We have have the recommencement of the Institut Francais cinema showings at Cinema Rex.  The first Dar Batha music performance will be piano recital on 9th October, and there is an interesting collaboration between the Instituto Cervantes and Francais with a evening of music and stories titled Tales of Andalus (Oct 31) also at Dar Batha.  Towards the end of October (22-26) there will be the International Dance Festival in Fez at the Complexe Al Hourria that will feature Marega Paiser & Co a contemporary dance group from Wales.

November sees the return of the Institut Francais’ Documentary month at Cinema Rex, and there are the launch of 2 photography exhibitions at the Institutes Francais and Cervantes.   Of course Cafe Clock will continue with their usual  rotating Moroccan music groups at their Sunday evening concerts every week.   For a full list of events see our Dar Aquas Listings page.

Click here to book a room at Dar Aquas
Posted 13 September 2013

 

 

Ramadan Nights: Institut Francais de Fes present 3 Concerts at Dar Batha

ramadan Nights, 3 Concerts at Dar Batha, 22, 23, 27 July 2013, Fez Morocco
This week the Institut Francais de Fes present 3 concerts in their Ramadan Nights series at Dar Batha. All the concerts begin at 22h (10pm) and admission is free.
July 22, Maalam Gnaoui Yassine Boudouaia, Emel Mathlouthi. Emel mathlouthi born in 1982, is a singer sing writer from Tunis.
July 23
, Malhoune de Fes, Orchestre National de Barbès. The ONB were founded in 1996 by bassist and composer Youcef Boukella. They have had French, Moroccan and Portuguese musicians from various musical genres including Chaabi, Rai, Gnawa, Jazz and more.
July 27
, Choukri Diwan & The Jilaliats of Fes, Egyptian Project. Egyptian Project is the result of a collaboration between purveyors of Egyptian traditional music and young French musicians and they mix the sounds of Cairo and the Nile Delta with trip-hop, electro and classical styles.
All concerts take place at 22h (10pm) at the Institut Francais de Fes' Dar Batha venue in Fes Medina.
Posted 21 July 2013

 

 

News:  Newly restored hammam opens at Bab Boujloud

Abdelali (cafe owner) & Mohamed (Beldi ironworker) at entrance to restored haman open at Bab Boujloud, Medina, Fez Morocco Interior of restored haman now open at Bab Boujloud, Medina, Fez Morocco

The hammam on Serrajine near Bab Boujloud, which has recently been undergoing some restoration works, has finally opened. .Hammam Mernissi which is located directly next to Thami's restaurant opened last week with free entry on the first day. It will initially be open for women during the day (10h - 21h) and men in the mornings (6h-10h) and evenings (21h-24h), with admission of 10h. The hammam has a sizeable reception (pictured above) and changing area, and then inside the bathing rooms are quite large. They are also restoring some rooms on the upper floor and when these are finished, private hammams with be available. These will be suitable particularly for tourists amongst whom there is demand for couples to take a hammam together, something not usually available at the traditional Moroccan hammam where the sexes use the facilities at different times. Posted 17 July 2013 / Updated 19 July 2013

 

 

Photographs: Flamenco in Fez Medina

Flamenco, 05 July 2013, Fez Medina, Morocco Flamenco, 05 July 2013, Fez Medina, Morocco Flamenco, 05 July 2013, Fez Medina, MoroccoFlamenco, 05 July 2013, Fez Medina, Morocco Flamenco, 05 July 2013, Fez Medina, Morocco Flamenco, 05 July 2013, Fez Medina, Morocco
Some photos from the Flameco event, with the Piñona Flamenco Company, presented by the Intstituto Cervantes at Dar Batha in Fez Medina last week (05 July 2013). Posted 13 July 2013


Clocks/Time Change for Ramadan 2013:

Time in Morocco

The clocks in Morocco go back 1 hour tomorrow night, at 3am on Sunday 07 July, in preparation for Ramadan which is expected to begin on 09 July. 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. Clocks will return to summertime (GMT +1 hour) after Ramadan., at 2am Saturday 10 August. Posted 05 July 2013

 

 

 

Nature:  The return of the House Buntings

House Bunting (sahari) at Dar Aquas, Fez Morocco, June 2013Last year as the winter rains began we had to cover the halka (opening to sky from courtyard).  This unfortunately cut off access to Dar Aquas to the House Buntings that were regular visitors, often even roosting on the smallest of ledges on the wooden halka surround.  Last week  as summer approached and the risk of big rains receded we decided to remove the cover.  Then yesterday evening at dusk, we heard a familiar sparrow like tweeting on the first floor and as we approached we spotted a bird with a distinctive brown body and grey head perched above the balcony on the first floor.  The House Bunting (sahari) is resident only to North  West Africa, it is not even found in Spain and indeed  has only reached the far north of Morocco (Tetouan) in the last few years.    It is really is wonderful to have them back with us at Dar Aquas.  Apologies for the poor photo, we’ll probably get some opportunities to take a better one of our newly returned friends over the next few days. Posted 13 June 2013

 

 

Workshop:  Make your own Moroccan Olive Oil Soap at Dar Aquas

Soap at Dar AquasSince Dar Aquas opened we have been providing our guests with our very own handmade soaps. This has led to several requests to purchase additional soaps and many queries as to how we actually make it. So now we are delighted to be able offer a 'Make your own Moroccan Olive Oil Soap' workshop, where you can join Dar Aquas soapmaker Mary and make your own unique Moroccan olive oil soap.
Workshop participants will see the soap making process demonstrated and then make their own unique batch of soap using Moroccan olive oil, , herbs, and essential oils. All participants go home with a 500ml container of the soap they have made and an information pack. We can organise individual or small group workshops, instruction is in English. Cost : Introductory price €60 per person. To book a workshop contact Mary at  0674990635 or soap@daraquas.com.
Click here to book a room at Dar Aquas
Posted 05 June 2013

 

 

New Borj Fez shopping mall opens

Borg Fez Shopping Mall Borg Fez Shopping Mall Borg Fez Shopping Mall
On Saturday evening we went to the newly opened Borj Fez Shopping Mall next to the La Fiat roundabout in the Nouvelle Ville. We have seen the building work progress for over 3 years and now we finally get to see the fruits of all the work.
The crowds were overwhelming, as is usual with any new opening in Fez large numbers turn up for the first few days, then things settle down, but this was more on the levels of a big sporting event. The mall is much bigger than it appears from the outside, it has 3 levels, the basement 'hypermarche' level has a big Carrefour Supermarket and about 20 other shops, including a Travel Agency. The middle 'Shopping' floor has over 40 units with a not yet open Virgin Megastore (we could even see an LP of Tom Waits Rain dogs on a stand inside) and many well known brands including Benetton, Nike and a branch of the upmarket Fez cafe La Villa. The upper 'restaurants' floor has several food places including Burgerking, Pizza Hut, and a Japanese restaurant on the plan but we didn't see it on our visit. It also has a large children's play park. On all floors several shops had yet to open but most seemed in the final stages of fit out.
The large crowds made it difficult to get a good feel for the place, but it is certainly on a completely different level to any other shopping facility in the city. Of particular interest to many people were the escalators, (possibly the first ever in Fez), and many people seemed to very hesitant using them, indeed security guards were positioned at each one. Maybe we might see the London Underground solution where they had a one-legged constantly riding their first ever escalators, to allay people fears.
The crowds were so large that when we were returning to the medina at 11pm after watching Bayern Munich beat Dortmund in the Champions League Final, the traffic was still backed up Ave Hassan II due to the number of people still exiting the mall. It really changes the feel of the area, as most of the main shopping area have recently been located outside the centre (Hay Saada & both Marjanes), and it will be interesting to see the longer term dymanic on the old centre of the Ville Nouvelle.
Click here to book a room at Dar Aquas
Posted 26 May 2013

 

 

Some photos from Fez this week

Les Transes d'Anheo, Exhibition Launch, Fez Morocco, May 2013 Little Owl on Agave Plant, near Fez Morocco, May 2013 Fruit stall on Sellaline Souk in Fez Medina, May 2013
Above are a few snaps that we took in and around Fez this week. You can click on the photographs for a larger size.
The first photo is from Dany Leriche and Jean Michel Fickinger's Les Transes d'Aneho photographic exhibition at the Gallerie Institut Francais de Fes. The photo shows Jean Michel at the exhibition launch on 17th May.
The second is of a 'Little Owl'. We came across this guy in the middle of the day, happily perched on an agave plant to the north side of Mount Zalagh. Nothing seemed to disturb him and we were able to get quite close to take the photograph.
The third is of a fruit stall in Sellaline souk at the western end of Fez medina and shows many of the fruits in season in late May, sspecially stone fruits and melons. The photo shows Nectarines, Peaches, Plums, Apricots, Loquats, Cherries, Watermelons, Honeydew Melons, and Pineapple Melons.
Posted 23 May 2013

 

Nature: Birdwatching trip to the Dayets of the Middle Atlas early May 2013

Squacco HeronWe had a great daytrip to the Dayets (small lakes) found off the main road between Immouzer and Ifrane, about 50km south of Fez.  Our first stop was Dayet Aoua, the part near the road was full of Little Grebes, but after short drive to the south side of the lake we saw Coots and large numbers of Red Knobbed Coots, next we spotted Blank Winged Stints, Mallard, & Ruddy Shelduck, Little & Cattle Egrets, and then we saw our find of the day a Squacco Heron, initially only it’s head was showing in long grass, but after a while it took off and we saw the distinctive white wings and it landed in a more open spot allowing us better views.   There was also a largish raptor but it appeared about the same time as the Squacco so we didn’t have a chance to identify it.  We also saw some Jays and Mistle Thrushes by the trees next to the lake.   Then we moved on to Dayet Ifrah, a more open lake with less bird life than Auoa, but still several Little Grebes, Ruddy Shellduck, and also a Common Sandpiper. We finally headed to Dayet Hachlaf, and on the roadside saw a Wheatear and a small flock of Ravens, at Hachlaf we again saw many Little Grebes, Ruddy Shelduck, Coots & R.K. Coots, Black Winged Stints &  Sandpipers, Egrets, but 2 new sights were of a pair of Great Crested Grebes in courtship, and large numbers of Pochard.  Also lots of African Chaffinches under the trees by the shore.  On all the Dayets there were other water birds that we failed to identify, but we’ll get then some other time. A great day. Posted 08 May 2013

 

Photo: Orchestre National de Jazz and The Hamadcha Sufi Brotherhood of Fes, Dar Batha 17/04/2013

Orchestre National de Jazz and The Hamadcha Sufi Brotherhood of Fes, Dar Batha 17/04/2013
Late last Wednesay we posted this photograph on our facebook page and it went a bit viral getting thousands of views. It captures Hamadcha Frederic Calmes in the middle of a special moment. The concert was a collaberation between 2 members of Orchestre National de Jazz and the Hamadcha Brotherhood at the Institut Francais de Fes' Dar Batha.The full Orchestre NdeJ return to Fes on June 12 to play a free public concert at Place Boujloud during the Fes Festival of Sacred Music. The Hamadcha will also perform a collaboration concert with DJ Click at the same location on June 10. Posted 22 April 2013

 

Culture: Institut Francais Fes Events April to July 2013

Institut Francais Fes, Cultural Programme April - June 2013Today, the Institut Francais de Fes published their new cultural programme for the next 4 months (April to July 2013). Of immediate interest is the concert next Wednesday (17 April) a collaboration between the Orchestre National de Jazz and the Hamdacha Brotherhood.
In May we see the return of the popular Fashion Show with 3 new designers, Moi Anan from Thailand, Italian 'Alfred Berlin', and Fatou Kine Vilane from Senegal.
New innovations include events with the Fes Scared Music Festival which will result in 3 late night (22h30) open air concerts in Place Boujloud. including a rerun of the collaboration of DJ Click & The Hamdacha Brotherhood from a couple of years ago, and a new series of concerts at Dar Batha during Ramadan.
This all in addition to their usual series of exhibitions, artist residencies and especially their excellent Film screenings at Cinema Rex. Sadly there seems to be none of the various Film Festivals that we had at similar time last year, but we can't have everything. Click the photo to download the programme (in French) or all the events are included on the Dar Aquas Listings page. Posted 12 April 2013

 

 

Is there gold in them medinas?

Panning for coins in Fez medina, MoroccoA few weeks back while on our way from Dar Aquas to Achibine for some lunch, our Californian companion noticed some men in the Sebou river next to the Bin Lamdoun bridge. He saw that they had large metal pans, and was immediately interested being from a part of the world that experienced a big 'gold rush' in the mid-19th century. The Bin Lamdoun area is currently just a big open site, due to clearance works carried out as part of the the Lalla Yedouna regeneration project. Was there really gold in the Fez river, we were all excited for short while until one of us remembered having being told by one Fassi 'antique' seller how people often look for old coins in the river and now the ground disturbance for all the works in the area has encouraged more people to search for them. So although there might not be gold in the river there could be treasure. Posted 05 April 2013

 

Daytrip from Fez to the Tuesday Souk in Azrou

Carpets at Azrou SoukFresh produce at Azrou SoukTea at Azrou souk
On Monday evening we decided we would take a trip to the weekly Tuesday souk in Azrou, about 90km south of Fez in Morocco's Middle Atlas mountains. You can hire a grand taxi for the day and then have the flexibility to stop anywhere along the route including the swiss chalet town of Ifrane or visit the Barabary Apes (Macaque monkeys) in the cedar forests.
However as we were only visiting the market we decided to take one of the sardine tin places in the grand taxis that ply the route between Fez and Azrou throughout the day. After the 90 minute journey we walked the 1km to market on the edge of town (take the road by the Bus Station).
On our way there we met a small flock of sheep & new spring lambs being herded back towards town, obviously their price was right. On arrival at the market we made our way to the small Carpet / Blanket section, just to the left, inside the 1st gate, to see what was available, prices here are usually cheaper than Fez, and the browsing and buying process more relaxed. A couple of things caught our eye and after checking some prices we explored the rest of market.
The souk was full of fresh spring produce glowing in the sunshine, wonderful red tomatoes, piles of broad beans, peas, peppers etc. We had a pot of tea at one of the stalls at the edge of the market, where I discovered that price of a caged Goldfinch (Mekneen) was 15 dirham.
After further exploring we went back to the carpet & blanket sellers where we picked up some nice blankets/handiras for Dar Aquas, before then going for a Kefta & Brochette lunch in the dedicated food section at the far end of the souk. After lunch it was back to the grand taxi station for the squashed return trip to Fez. Posted 27 March 2013

 

 

Walking in Fez: Hike to summit of Mount Tghat

2013 Fez Festival of World Sacred MusicFez is overlooked by 2 mountains. To the North East, over the medina, is Mount Zallagh, whose 900m summit we hiked to couple of weeks ago, and further west is the smaller 836m Mount Tghat overlooking the new town. With a couple of days of spring sunshine this week we took the opportunity to scale Tghat.
We set out through the new building developments that line the north side of the Meknes road and headed out for the rear of Tghat, soon we were in empty countryside and once turned a corner to get a great view of Mount Zallagh from the West, and saw that steep decent that we had somehow achieved there on our last outing.
Once you leave the urban areas the nature is wonderful, everything green and the air full of birdsong. Today we saw a Long Legged Buzzard, Kestrel, Hoopoe, Great Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Corn Bunting, Sisken, Chiffchaff, Black Redstart, Larks and more, and we heard the calls of a Cuckoo and a Little Owl. We also literally stumbled upon several wild tortoises happily munching the new spring greens. It took a very casual 4 hours in all, including stopping to eat some lunch. An easier hike than to Zallagh but a very enjoyable way to pass a few hours away from the medina bustle. Posted 23 March 2013

 

 

Culture: Online Ticket Booking & English language site for 2013 Fez Festival of World Sacred Music

2013 Fez Festival of World Sacred MusicThe Fez Festival of World Sacred Music has announced the creation of an English language web site for the 2013 event. Click here for the English site.
They have also launched a online booking service for the reservation of tickets for individual events. A full festival pass costs 3,250 dirham (€305/£259/$396) and individual concerts cost from 150 dirham for the cheapest Musee Batha events to 600 dirham for the most expensive seats at Patti Smith's Bab Makina concert. The ticket site (in English) can be found here. The Festival runs from the 7th to 15th June and individual events are included on our Fez Listings/Events page.
Click here to book a room at Dar Aquas for the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music
Posted 18 March 2013

 

 

Culture: Flamenco in Fez

Fez Flamenco Festival, 05 May 2012, Fez MoroccoThe Fez Flamenco Festival will not be taking place this year, instead of the usual 4 night May event, the Instituto Cervantes Fez will be hosting 3 separate Flamenco spectacles, The first will be in the May, the second in June and the third in September. Flamenco also has a prominent billing in the 2013 Fes Festival of World Sacred Music with the main Bab Makina concert on Sunday 9th June being dedicated to the The legend of the flamenco guitar.
Posted 12 March 2013

 

 

 

Wildlife: Spring Nature & Birds in Fez

Chifchaffs at jardin Sbile Great Grey  Shrike's larder, Mount Zallagh, Fez Morocco Wild Tortoise, Mount Zallagh, Fez Morocco
Now that spring is here we are seeing an increase in the bird and wildlife activity. Up to now we have mostly being enjoying the over wintering Chiffchaffs (1st photo above) catching insects in the Jardin Sbile pond, but the Alpine Swifts have returned in the last 2 weeks and the Boujuloud and Bab Guissa evenings skies, empty since early November, are again full of their cries. We are also seeing swallows zipping around Place Rcif.
Last week's spring sunshine encouraged us to take a few walks up Mount Zallagh, It's great that it is only a 10 minutes walk from Dar Aquas and you are in the countryside. On the lower slopes it was interesting to see several Great Grey Shrikes, a carnivorous bird that often stores it's prey in a 'larder', basically it impales it's food on thorns to be eaten later. It was then with amazement that we spotted a Shrike's larder, a first for us. The middle photo above shows a dead small bird, but the larder also included some large dead insects.
Further up Mount Zallagh the bird life changes and we saw several Ravens and what seemed to be a pair of Buzzards in a courtship ritual (ariel display with entwined talons). At the summit of Zallagh we also came accross a wild tortoise, and later as we decended saw a pair of 'Little Owls'. Posted 06 March 2013

 

 

 

Rugby: Watching the 6 Nations on television in Morocco

Rugby 6 Nations on TV in MoroccoToday the annual 6 nations Rugby tournament between England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, & Wales kicks off. The first games are Sat 02 Feb, 13.30 Wales v Ireland, & 16h00 England V Scotland, The following day Sun 3rd Feb at 15h00 is Italy V France. It is possible to view all the games in Morocco. France2, on Eutelsat & AtlanticBird, is showing all the games, their sister channel TV5 (Maghreb) on Nilesat is showing only the games involving France. BBC coverage is also available to anyone who can access the Astra1 satellite. Also all games are shown on subscription channel AlJazeera+3. It is unlikely that any of the games would normally be shown in a cafe here, but if it is not clashing with any football matches, the staff might be willing to put a game on, Al Jazeera +3 (or Al Jazeera +10 for matches on 9 & 10 March) is most likely channel showing the game that they will have available.
Feb 02, 13h30 Wales 22-30 Ireland, 16h England 38-18 Scotland
Feb 03, 15h Italy 23-18 France
Feb 09, 14h30 Scotland v Italy, 17h France v Wales
Feb 10, 15h Ireland V England
Mar 09, 14h30 Scotland, v Wales, 17h Ireland v France
Mar 10, 15h England v Italy
Posted 02 February 2013 / Update 06 March 2013

 

 

Culture: 2013 Fez Festival of World Sacred Music.

2013 Fez Festival of World Sacred MusicWe have updated our Fez Listings/Events page to include the 19th Fez Festival of World Sacred Music which takes place from 07 to15 of June this year. The opening spectacle on the evening of the 7th June looks very interesting, a homage to Andalusia and the strong historic links between Fez and the southern Spanish region. The following night's concert looks similarly interesting, a collaboration between a Greek Byzantine Choir and Turkish Dervishes. Sunday 9th sees a night a Flamenco music, something that has gained supporters in Fez, as seen from the packed evenings at Fez's annual Flamenco Festival.
From the 10th to 12th we have the now annual, Nights in the Medina, where concerts are held in traditional Medina houses, giving a more intimate feel to the performances.
On the 13th we return to Bab Makina for Syrian singer, Assala Nasri and on the 14th with have South Africa group Ladysmith collaborating with the Chicago Gospel Experience. Then on the 15th the Festival closes in a similar vein to Bjork's sucessful 2012 concert, with a nother left-field rock legend in Patti Smith.
The Festival also has the usual Musee Batha afternoon concerts and the late Sufi nights at Dar Tazi. There should also be the big free public concerts at Place Boujuloud, although the line-ups have not yet been made available. It certainly looks like an interesting Festival for 2013. Fez Festival of World Sacred Music, 7-15 June 2013, Fez Morocco.
Click here to book a room at Dar Aquas for the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music
Posted 11 & 20 February 2013

To see this article with full event listings click here

 

Culture: 2013 Fez Festival of Sufi Culture.

2013 Fez Festival of Sufi Cultures, 13-20 April 2013, Fez MoroccoThe provisional programme for the 2013 Fez Festival of Sufi Cultures has been released. The festival will run from 13th - 20th April and features Sufi Brotherhoods from Syria, Turkey, Palestine and of course Morocco. With the sole exception of the closing concert, all events take place at Musée Batha. Each day of the festival has been allocated a specific theme which is explored in roundtable discussions at 10h & 16h, followed by a nightly concert at 21h. Fes Festival of Sufi Cultures 13-20 April 2013, Musée Batha. Fez Morocco.
Click here to book a room at Dar Aquas for the Fes Festival of Sufi Culture
Posted 11 February 2013

To see this article with a full list of Festival events click here

 

Film: Season of 6 films on Immigration at Instituto Cervantes Fez

Instituto Cervantes Fez  16h30 Feb 05, Film: 14 kilometro Instituto Cervantes Fez  16h30 Feb 12, Film: Un novio para Yasmina Instituto Cervantes Fez  16h30 Feb 19, Film: Retorno a Hansala Instituto Cervantes Fez  16h30 Feb 26, Film: Balseros Instituto Cervantes Fez  16h30 Mar 06, Film: PonienteCommencing this Wednesday, 06 February 2013, the Instituto Cervantes Fez show a series of 6 films with the common theme of immigration. The first film is 14 Kilometros, the title refers to the distance between Morocco and Spain across the straits of Gibraltar. It tells the story of Buba and Mukela, 2 brothers from Niger, who meet Violeta, a Malian teenager fleeing an arraged marriage, as they try to make their way to Spain, where they think they may have a chance at a better life. All showings start at 16h30, in the Instituto Cervantes' Projection room. All 6 films are in Spanish with French subtitles.
Feb 05
, Film: 14 kilometros (Esp 2007)
Feb 12, Film: Un novio para Yasmina (Esp 2008)
Feb 19, Film: Retorno a Hansala (Esp 2008)
Feb 26
, Film: Balseros (Esp 2002)
Mar 06
, Film: Poniente (Esp 2002)
Mar 13
, Film: Flores de otro mundo (Esp 1999)
Posted 03 Febraury 2013

 

Football: Morocco at the CAF African Cup of Nations

CAF South Africa 2013 logoTomorrow evening Morocco play their third and final group game in the finals of the 2013 African Cup of Nations, currently taking place in South Africa. Morocco have drawn the first 2 games, 0-0 with Angola, and with 1-1 with Cape Verde. This means that Morocco must probably need to win their final group game in order to qualify for the knock-out stages. this will be a tough task against the host team South Africa, who beat Angola 2-0 in their previous match. All the matches are being shown on the various Eurosport channels which are available in Morocco on the Astra1 & Hotbird satellites. If English commentary is must, then there are pay channels Al Jazeera Sports +9/+10/HD which often have an English commentary in their audio options. In the UK many games are being shown on ITV4 and on C+ Sport in France. We have also found matches showing on Tchad Tele (with French commentary) which broadcasts on Nilesat, and of course you'll find the games are being shown in most Moroccan cafes.
Jan 19, Group A South Africa 0-0 Cape Verde, Morocco 0-0 Angola.
Jan 23, Group A 15h South Africa 2-0 Angola, 18h Morocco 1-1 Cape Verde.
Jan 27, Group A 17h Morocco 2-2 South Africa, 17h Cape Verde 2-1 Angola final group games played simultaneously. Update: South Africa & Cape Verde qualify for knock-out stages
Feb 02, Quarter Finals 15h Ghana 2-0 Cape Verde, 18h30 South Africa 1-1 Mali (Mali win 3-1 on pens)
Feb 03, Quarter Finals 15h Ivory Coast 1-2 Nigeria, 18h30 Burkina Faso 1-2 Togo
Feb 06, Semi Finals 15h Mali v Nigeria, 18h30 Burkina Faso v Ghana
Feb 09, 3rd place play-off 18h
Feb 10 Final 18h
Posted 23rd, 26th & 27th January 2013

 

Exhibition: Mohamed Romain Ataallah

Mohamed Romain Ataallah originally studied at the Tetuan School of Art, in Northern Morocco in the 1950's, and later continued his artistic education at the Royal Academy of the Fine Arts in Seville. He subsequently lived in Madrid, Rome and in several French cities. This exhibition from the artist's own private collection, shows some of his works spanning the period 1954 to 1992, and show the artist's development over time and the dramatic changes in his style. The earliest pieces are Moroccan scenes in both watercolours and oils. They are followed by more abstract paintings from only a 3 years later,. Eventually we see a more geometric style emerge in the 1960's leading on to some possibly Bridget Riley influenced works from 1975 until we reach a installation piece from 1992. A nice compact exhibition of 42 works, get one of the lovely free catalogues if they are still available. Exhibition: Mohamed Romain Ataallah 1954-92, Instituto Cervantes Gallery 22 Jan 2013 to 17 Feb 2013. Posted 24 January 2013 link

 

 

Film: Oscar nominated film 'Amour' screening in Fez. 1 night only

Film: Amour (Aut,Fra,Ger 2012), 23/01/2013, 19h, Cinema Rex, Fez Morocco A great opportunity to see Amour on the big screen in Fez. The film directed by Michael Haneke is about an elderly couple, both retired music teachers, with a daughter who lives abroad. One day the wife has a stroke and requires significant care... The French language film has been nominated in 4 categories in next month's Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director. The film is being shown as part of the Institut Francais de Fes cultural programme. Details: Amour (Aut,Fra,Ger 2012), 23/01/2013, 19h, Cinema Rex, VN, Fez. Adm 10/20 Dhm. Posted 21 January 2013

 

 

 

Film: 4th Fez Film Festival: French cimema from the 2000s, Cinema Rex 25-27 January 2013

La petit lieutenant at the 4th Fez Film Festival, 19h 25 January 2013, Cinema Rex, Fez Morocco OSS 117 Le Caire nid d'espion at the 4th Fez Film Festival, 17h 26 January 2013, Cinema Rex, Fez Morocco L'heure d'ete at the 4th Fez Film Festival, 19h 26 January 2013, Cinema Rex, Fez Morocco La journee de la jupe at the 4th Fez Film Festival, 17h 27 January 2013, Cinema Rex, Fez Morocco Villa Amalia at the 4th Fez Film Festival, 19h 27 January 2013, Cinema Rex, Fez Morocco

The Institut Francais and l’Association Soleil de Fès present the 4th edition of the Festival du Film de Fes, with this festival's theme being 'French Cinema of the 2000s'. The festival takes place at the Cinema Rex from 25 to 27th January and there will be 2 shows a day at 17h and 19h. The Festival opens on Friday evening with La petit lieutenant (2005). All films are in the French language.
Jan 25, Friday, 19h La petit lieutenant (2005, 113min)
Jan 26, Saturday, 17h: OSS 117 Le Caire nid d'espion (2006, 99min), 19h L'heure d'ete (2008, 100min)
Jan 27, Sunday, 17h: La journee de la jupe (2009, 88min), 19h: Villa Amalia (2008, 91min)
Posted 19 Jan 2013

 

 

Travel News: Fez to be new Ryanair hub + 4 new Fez to France routes

Ryanair logo Ryanair have announced that Fez is to be a base airport, with the permanent basing of an aircraft at Fez-Saiss airport. They have also announced 4 new French routes to Lille, Nantes, Nimes and St Etienne, bringing their total number of European destinations served from Fez up to 15.
The airline also announced the basing of 2 aircraft in Marrakech and 7 new routes (Baden, Bergerac, Cuneo, Dole, Munich, Paris Vatry & Tours). It will also commence flights to Rabat (from Brussels, Paris & Marseille) and Essaouira (from Brussels & Marseille), 2 destinations not previously served by Ryanair.
In conjunction with the recommencement of the London Stansted, Rome Ciampino and Pisa routes to Fez, and the new routes of Eindhoven and Barcelona El Prat, this is great news for Fez & Morocco. Posted 17 January 2013

 

 

Review: Trio Barzagh, Live @ Palais Jamai, Fez Morocco 15/01/2013

Trio Barzagh, Live @ Palais Jamai, Fez Morocco 15/01/2013 Trio Barzagh,André Klenes on Double Bass, Fusion @ Palais Jamai, Fez Morocco 15/01/2013
An evening of Fusion/Lounge from Trio Barzagh. The group comprising Abdehak Tekrouine on Lute (Oud), André Klenes on Double Bass, and Fahym Essam on Percussion played a variety of composed pieces in styles varying from Turkish/Orientalist to Latin American Tango.
Each individual piece was beautifully crafted with the feeling that hidden behind the obvious sound was another familiar melody. At one time I thought I could hear Boby La Pointes 'Avenir et Framboises' and in another a familiar lullaby.
The beauty of the pieces worked very well on an individual basis however sometimes the live setting didn't seem to suit them. They mentioned during a break between playing that they were using some compositions as a film soundtrack, so the lack of the associated images or narrative may explain a slightly detached feeling between the band and the setting. Once again thanks to the Institut Francais de Fes for giving us another excellent concert. Posted 15 Jan 2013

 

 

Concert: Trio Barzagh, Jazz Fusion 15/01/2013

Jamai, Fez MoroccoLute player, Abdehak Tekrouine returns to Fez after his successful string duo performance with classical guitarist Naji, at a concert hosted by the Instituto Cervantes last October (see review from 24/10/2012). This time, hosted by the Institut Francais de Fes at the Palais Jamai, he performs with André Klenes a classically trained double bassist, and with Fahym Essam, percussion. Based on wonderful performance in October this concert is one not to miss.  Posted 10 January 2013

 

 

 

Music: Opera at Dar Batha 04/01/2013

Opera at Dar Batha 04/01/2013, Fez Morocco images/InFr 20130104 P1 Soprano crop smll.jpg
Yesterday evening Dar Batha was the perfect venue for a unique performance of operatic pieces, sung by Soprano Valentina Corradetti and Mezzosoprano Nadia Prazzini, accompanied by Cristina Giardini on piano.
The first half opened with a Hoffenbach duet, and was followed by alternating classical solo pieces, finishing with another duet from Pucinni's Madame Butterfly.
After the interval the pieces were generally lighter with performances such as Gershwin's 'Summertime' and 'La vie en rose', the song made famous by Edith Piaf. The concert came to and end with Memory from Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Cats, and as an encore they performed a song consisting of only one repeated word, 'meow'. A fitting ending for a performance in Fez medina.
Opera at Dar Batha 04/01/2013, Fez Morocco Opera at Dar Batha 04/01/2013, Fez Morocco
Posted 05 Jan 2013

 

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