Morocco Musically Present At Annual Alexandria International Festival


“Music does bring people together. It allows us to experience the same emotions. People everywhere are the same in heart and spirit. No matter what language we speak, what color we are, the form of our politics or the expression of our love and our faith, music proves: We are the same.” — John Denver.

It is true that music or art in general aims to bring people together because of its ultimate power and ability to stir our senses and “wake up” those beautiful senses that transcend boundaries of hearts and minds. Music aims to promote values of love, tolerance and coexistence especially in a multicultural, multiethnic environment. That is exactly one of the major goals that the city of Alexandria in Virginia is looking forward to achieve.

This year, the city of Alexandria 2nd Annual Alexandria International Festival is scheduled for Saturday, October 22, from 1:00-7:00pm at Waterfront Park, 1A Prince Street in Historic Old Town Alexandria. To the organizers, this is a family oriented festival and the event features the entertainment, food, arts and crafts, and exhibitors of a variety of countries. Food and vendor sales.

The organizers encourage people to come and indulge themselves with multicultural food, Thai, Moroccan, Ethiopian, Armenian, Afghan, Hispanic, American and more available to purchase. Visitors will see the World Arts and Craft Market with items from around the world in time for the holiday shopping. People are highly encouraged to dress in their favorite ethnic garment and to bring flags of their countries of origin. Live entertainment will be provided with a global presence from Morocco, Ireland, Bolivia, Armenia, Brazil, Ethiopia, Hawaii and more. An occasion to celebrate and to get engaged with community dancing with a dee-jay to celebrate heritages.

Morocco will be musically represented by one of the most popular styles of North Africa music : Gnawa. The roots of this music that are recognisably African in the drumming, the unique metallic castanets, the three-stringed bass lute (guembri), as well as the mosaic gowns and caps worn by musicians mostly decorated with cowry shells. A type of Moroccan music, similar to jazz in America. As a matter of fact, Western musicians showed a major interest in this African traditional music. To name just one jazz icon Randy Weston who collaborated widely with Moroccan masters of gnawa music in Morocco.

“This music is a part of ancient and rich African heritage, which has been growing and prospering for centuries as a thriving music project in Morocco. It is a fascinating combination of poetry, music and dancing. Its secret also lies in its religious, spiritual dimension, which gives it a kind of therapeutic power,” said Anass Fassi Fehri, Professor Assistant at Fes Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University

The African touch is clearly reflected in the dances and the garments the gnawa singers wear. So, this will be a great opportunity for the visitors of the Alexandria 2nd Annual International Festival to acquaint themselves with the African roots that still live in Morocco. Most importantly, the Alexandria festival will certainly show once again that arts has the power to bring people together over and above geography, culture and language.

Said Temsamani

Said Temsamani is a Moroccan political observer and consultant, who follows events in his country and across North Africa. He is a member of Washington Press Club.

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