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Pax Vobiscum, Pilgrims!

So yesterday was Day 2 in Fez and the day started with me deciding to take a walk in the Old Town of Medina, The Talaa Kebira.  This much I have learned during my mini-excursion:

You can’t expect to walk the whole of Fez and truly enjoy the experience. That’s how I screwed up royally!

Even the basic of French or Arabic can save you a whole lot of bother. I came across like a complete pounce continually asking people the question: “parle vous Anglais?” What a muppet!

Comfortable shoes, a bottle of water and some sense of direction is a necessity when embarking on walking the streets of the Old Town:

Fez

The Alleyways of the Old City are a Labyrinth of “Where-The-Heck-Am -I?” The paths just keeping going on and on, then it splits into other intersections, and to others, and so forth. If you can, try and make it to higher ground and get another perspective:

Fez

So for the best part of you walking, you’ll  have people wanting you to hire their services and such, and you have to politely decline.  However, I did have a persistent local by the name of Abdul who convinced me to show me around, for a small fee of course.

There are some smells that even the strongest of mint leaves cannot repel the stench of hides of the World famous Tanneries. Set Nostrils to dead:

Fez

From a different perspective, the tannery actually reminds me of those Plastic water paints your folks bought you to encourage the artist in you, only for you to lose it within one week:

Fez

It’s interesting the intricacies of carpet making.  I was taken to this building in the middle of nowhere right in the bustle of everywhere just to see the artisans doing what they do well:

Fez

Fez

I’ve forgotten the name of this music conservatory, but worth the visit. It’s across the river within the Zenqat Bab Harma District:

Fez

As this is the World Sacred Music Festival,  I had to make my way down to Batha Museum for the performance of Kuchipudi dancer, Shantala Shivalingappa.  I couldn’t shoot from the front, so I had to make do with taking shots from the back:

Fez

The main performance at Bab El Makina was something I was really looking to seeing.  It was supposed to have been a tribute to a gospel great, Mahalia Jackson by Marwa Wright, but due to an illness, she had to cancel.  As a last minute replacement, she had her cousin, Paulette Wright  and members of the band take over, and my God! What a performance:

Musical director Davell Crawford:

World Sacred Music Festival

Ms.Dianne Peterson:

World Sacred Music Festival

It was the performance of Ms. Jackie Tolbert that really got the crowd going.  It’s not often you get such showmanship and power sprout goose-bumps on your skin. She was amazing, sprouting out the Old Negro Spirituals. My God! What a performance.  It was like a mini revival going on:

World Sacred Music Festival

I don’t know what she did, but the whole crowd was raptured by the music. I honestly thought everyone was going to be conservative and rarely get up and just applaud. Boy, was I sorely mistaken. I mean, this is Africa, and whatever the music type, as long as it has rhytmmn and gets the juices flowing, then you’re good to go!

World Sacred Music Festival

Ms. Paulette Jackon:

World Sacred Music Festival

So far the festival is going great. My only grip so far has got to be security. I can understand and appreciate that a couple of weeks ago there was a stampede at a musical festival at Rabat, resulting in the death of 18 people. However, it would be nice if security could at least let accredited journalists and photographers do their job without the exaggerated agro.

Later on today is going to be the Dervishes Trances, and that ought to be an interested gig to shoot. Laters, pilgrims!

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One thought on “Follow the Bread Crumbs! (Day 2 at World Sacred Music Festival 2009)

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