The Fes Festival of Sacred Music is not exclusive to “sacred” music: several venues, chiefly Ait Skato and Bab Boujloud, feature contemporary musicians. While I support the idea that the Fes Festival has both traditional and contemporary music, I firmly believe the organizers need to try to bridge a gap between these two genres. That is to say, there is no effort to recognize the “spiritual” aspect of contemporary music. Indeed, it is disappointing that the event organizers place so much emphasis on the “sacredness” of traditional music yet fail to distinguish or define “spiritual” essence of modern music.
When discussing this issue with Adil Hanine, the drummer of Hoba Hoba Spirit, he asked me, “What is spiritual music?” After a quick pause, he answered his own question: “Spiritual music is the heart’s expression.”
Regardless of this debate (although, as it is impossible to contradict Adil’s answer, there is not much of a debate at all), the festival organizers did a good job to showcase popular Moroccan artists, such as Nass El Ghiwane, Fnaire, Fes City Clan and Hoba Hoba Spirit.
Hoba Hoba Spirit actually played twice at the festival: on Saturday, June 14th, at Ait Skato, a venue outside the city center, and the following Sunday at Bab Boujloud, located in a plaza in the old medina. Both shows were well-attended: there were between twelve and fifteen thousand people in attendance for Saturday night’s show at Ait Skato, and about ten thousand showed up for Sunday afternoon’s performance.
As always, Hoba put on an outstanding show: they are one of the top live performers of all the bands I have ever seen. At each Hoba concert I have attended, the band has formed such a strong, immediate connection with the audience. Because these concerts represent a major form of social outlet for many young Moroccans, there is always so much energy in the audience, which, in turn, transfers onto the stage.
Below are some photographs and short videos from Saturday’s performance. I will post the media from Sunday’s show shortly…