Thursday 18 June 2009


Yes, it's this time of the year again, and yes, we are fortunate enough to be able to attend, and yes, I've got my bag ready (John will, of course, pack his just before we set off) and yes, I'm ready to go.

Details of performers and venues have only just been released so we've been carefully scrutinizing them. This year, there seems to be more of an emphasis on Gnaoua groups, with foreign guest troupes and musicians accompanying them and no big name performers, but already I've spotted some of my favourite Gnaoua groups. Plus, it means lots of fusion, which I adore.

The festival starts next Thursday and finishes on the Sunday and yet again, it's all free. There are nine open-air venues in total, which is pretty amazing.

The main venue is the large square - Moulay Hassan - just within the city walls and next to the sea, so it has a stunning backdrop. The first act to start off the Festival here is Maleem Mahmoud Guinea, playing with Groupe Afoxe Loni. We went to Mahmoud's house a few Xmases ago to attend his lila session (you can read about it on the daftnotstupid blog) and I'm fascinated to see whether his two gifted sons will be part of the group.

The other large venue is the even larger square - Bab Marrakech -right outside our hotel and I'm delighted to say that the closing act here on the Saturday night is Hamid El Kasri, who so wowed the crowd and sent me into a state of joyous delirium when he performed last year (which you can read about on an earlier post of mine), playing with WRD and Karim Ziad.

That one starts at midnight so I'm going to be shattered the next day, particularity as I will be dancing an awful lot - but who cares. It'll be very, very cold on our balcony so I'll probably be wearing all my clothes on top of each other - but who cares.

The Festival organizers give details, in French, of most of the musicians and so John used Google to translate into English, with hilarious results. Here's a little taster:-

Khaled ....In 1996 he recorded the album 'Sahara' in collaboration with Jean-Jacques Goldman. This collaboration will give birth to 'Aicha', the largest cardboard sung in French. Thanks to Khaled, rai was a refreshing customs, inspiration and renewal of the sensitive form.

Babani Kone did his apprenticeship with his grandmother Awa Kone, famous cherry which she learned the gestures and vocal intonations.

Meddy Gerville plays from the start with the musical's most popular island.

And so on and so on. Trouble is, if this is how Google translates in such a haphazard way, what do the translations for my posts read like in foreign languages? I dread to think but hopefully, it'll give people a laugh.