Sunday, January 15, 2017

Jazzablanca Festival in April

Casablanca will host the 12th edition of the Jazzablanca Festival from April 8th to 16th at the Anfa racecourse and from April 14th to 16th on the BMCI stage

The French trumpet player Erik Truffaz will be honoured during this 12th edition of the Jazzablanca.

The Truffaz will present his new album to the Casablancan public on February 8 at the Megarama.

Jazzablanca 2017 will take place on three stages and will feature Jazz, Soul, Pop and Rock. Find more information at:


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Illusions by Bryan Dawe - Exhibition Review

This week saw the opening in Tangier of "Illusions" - an exhibition of works by Australian Bryan Dawe. Held at the Volubilis Gallery in the Kasbah, it was attended by a large and enthusiastic crowd of art lovers from around the world. The View From Fez attended the opening and reports...

Cafe Hafa

It is a tribute to artist Bryan Dawe that people have travelled from as far away as Australia to attend the opening of his exhibition of photo-montage works in Tangier.

Holding an exhibition in Tangier is something not undertaken lightly. The logistics are challenging and most sane people would view Bryan’s tenacity as audacious. However, having spent a lot of time in Morocco in both Fez and Tangier, Bryan has grown to love and understand Moroccan culture and its people. Recognising this, local Moroccans were more than happy to assist him in every way. It was notable that almost half the large audience at his opening were Moroccans.

Detail of  "Princess and Queen of Tangier"
Bryan Dawe - too many balloons are never enough

In Australia Bryan is known and respected, not only as half of the long standing comedy duo Clarke and Dawe, who satirise politicians weekly on national television, but also as the President of the National Troublemaker’s Union; an actor, writer, activist and all-round renaissance man.  While not being widely known as an artist, the success of this exhibition should go a long way to changing that.

The Volubilis Gallery

Bryan’s "Illusions" exhibition provides an extraordinary vision of Tangier. Not once was he lured into orientalism or simplistic outsider’s views of the city. Instead, he has pried open the doors of perception and allowed the ghosts of Tangier's past to roam free. It is a wild, magical, surrealistic tribute to the city and the longer you spend with these images the more powerful they become.

Trapeze Girl

From these works, images emerge of the famous and infamous figures from literature and art who were drawn to Tangier. The city was a magnet for people such as William S. Burroughs, Jane and Paul Bowles, Ginsburg, Ira Cohen, Barbara Hutton, Mohammed Choukri, Brion Gysin and many more.

There is an underlying dark nostalgia in some of the works; in others there is confirmation of what those who understand Bryan know – his strong belief that too many hot air balloons are never enough.

The exhibition is open for the next month and is well worth a trip to Tangier


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Happy Amazigh New Year! Yennayer 2966

Amazigh (Berber) people across North Africa began celebrating their New Year celebrations, known as Yennayer in the Tamazight language, on Monday by coming together for traditional celebrations

Agadir is organising New Year's celebrations on the city's beach front for locals and tourists, while in the town of Tiznit, the Tayri N'Wakal Association (Love the Earth) is holding a series of events for Amazigh New Year such as classes for the indigenous Tifinagh alphabet and a lectures on Amazigh history and civilisation.

The Amazigh believe that people who celebrate the New Year will enjoy a fruitful and prosperous year. Contrary to the Christian and Islamic calendars, the Amazigh feast has no religious connotations and is linked to agriculture.

The celebrations vary among the many Amazigh tribes but one constant is that revellers enjoy meals of a traditional stew known as "ourkimen" and couscous.

It is difficult to establish the historical roots of the Amazigh New Year, but some historians link it to the enthronement of the Amazigh king Shoshenq I after defeating Ramses III, which is believed to have happened in 950 BC.

Morocco's Amazigh in recent years have succeeded in having their language and culture recognised in the constitution, and are now pushing for Amazigh New Year to be made a public holiday on January 13th.

In the early 2000s, a Royal Institute for Amazigh Culture was set up in Rabat and Tamazight instruction was introduced in primary schools. Also, an Amazigh television channel was launched in 2006.

The Amazigh, who are now spread mainly across Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Tunisia were the original inhabitants of North Africa before the 7th century Arab invasion, and they make up a fifth of Algeria's 33 million people. The largest numbers of Amazigh are believed to be in Morocco.

The Amazigh call themselves "imazighen," or free men, and their resentment of Arab-dominated central governments means they have long agitated, sometimes violently, for autonomy.


Andalusian Music in Fez

Andalusian Music Concert - Friday, January 13 at 7:30 PM - Leader Taieb Ouazzani Chahdi

ALIF Riad, 6 Derb Drissi, Batha

Organised by the ALC-ALIF Music Club & the Fez International Artists’ Gathering


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Morocco Bans the Sale of Burqas

According to the news site burqa producers and retailers have been issued written warnings to cease making and/or selling the garment. They have been further instructed to get rid of their burqa stock or convert it within 48 hours. If they fail to comply manufactures will risk confiscation of all their goods

Representatives of the Interior Ministry have visited markets and hand-delivered notices to inform both sellers and tailors to stop the production and sale of the burqa. In Morocco the term "burqa" is also used to describe the niqab

A photograph of the notice is also circulating on social media. It is said to have been sent by "El Basha", a representative of the Interior Ministry,

The note informs the tailor or merchant that... “following the observations of the authorities, we notice that you sell burqas – so, we are calling on you to get rid of the products of this outfit within 48 hours and to refrain from selling it in the future.”

A senior official at the Ministry of Interior was quoted by Moroccan news outlet Le360 as saying “We have taken measures to completely ban the import, manufacture and marketing of this garment in all cities and towns in the kingdom,”

Morocco is not alone in bringing in a burqa ban. A draft law has been written in Egypt, while Chad banned women from wearing the full-face veil following two suicide bomb attacks in June 2015. There are similar bans in parts of Cameroon and Niger as well as Congo-Brazzaville and the Gabon.

In Fez women told The View From Fez that they supported the ban. "I don't feel safe when I see someone wearing a burqa," said thirty-two year old Fatima Zahra, "You don't know if they are a salafist and that causes problems for me."

If the ban is implemented there will certainly be a negative reaction from fundamentalists. However, Morocco's police and security officers will be see it as a way of improving public security. Authorities have not formally explained this measure and have not said if the wearing of the burqa would be prohibited.

Another news site suggested that the restrictions might only apply to Casablanca, but security sources responded that it applied to the whole country