Friday marks the start of the 20th Fes Festival of Sacred Music, founded by The Sufi Knight – Dr Faouzi Skali
Born into the Sufi tradition of the ancient Moroccan city of Fes in 1953, the scholar Dr Faouzi Skali was horrified by the polarisation and religious intolerance that gripped the discourse between the West and the Islamic world with the onset of the 1990 Gulf War. His reaction was to found a festival in his home city to promote religious pluralism, cultural diversity and spiritual and humanitarian values.
The Fes Festival of Sacred Music celebrates its 20th anniversary this year from June 13-21, with the theme of the 12th-century Sufi epic The Conference of the Birds by Persian poet Farid udud-Din Attar. It will again play host to some of the world’s most transcendent music – from Youssou N’Dour to Zakir Hussain and F Wasifuddin Dagar to Wang-Li – all brought together by Dr Skali, the festival’s director general, and this year, a knight too.
On May 1 Dr Skali was presented with France’s highest award, the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur, by foreign minister Laurent Fabius in Paris, in recognition of his public service and contribution to cross-cultural dialogue and understanding. The honour comes hot on the heels of the eighth annual Festival of Sufi Culture in Fes, another brainchild of Dr Skali.
You can read our profile about the festival in the April/May issue (#99) and find out more about the events happening in Fes next eight days at www.fesfestival.com
Algerian Group El Gusto