Knowledge and delight

 Man has a thousand heads

He has a thousand eyes, a thousand feet

Man is but this universe

From Energy (creative energy) Man was born

Once born, he stretched beyond

Earh, both from behind and from the front


When the gods handed over the sacrifice

When they dismembered Man

His mouth became the Brahmin

The Warrior was a product of his hands

His legs were the Artisan

Out of his feet the Servitor was born. 

Purusha Sukta, one of the hymns of Rig-Veda (1500-1200 B.C.)

For the great philosopher Abu Nasr Al Farabi (Xth Century), called the Second Master (the First Master being no other than Aristotle), the city is also lies within the center of a cosmic order. His Treaty on the opinions of the Inhabitants of the Virtuous City gets direct inspiration from Plato’s Republic and is presented following a hierarchical model fashioned on the anatomy of the human body.

The artisan who is an integral part of this social entity, originally passes on his knowledge in  a sacred context, revealed and reconducted through a corporative, brotherhood-based system. This new edition of the Festival will, thus, honour Sufism, owing to the poetic inspiration of Dhafer Youssef in his show Diwan of Beauty and Odd or through the unprecedented evening dedicated to Sufism in Africa.

Ibn Arabi compares the creation pf the universe to a modelling, getting inspiration from a Quranic word according to which God has fashioned Man in clay. When God wished the existence of the world, a Cloud or Dust emerged, which may be compared to the plaster that the artisan casts on the ground in order to model in himself all figures and shapes that he desires.

Following a new scenographic  approach, the opening creation shall make architecture perfect, and shall turn the pages of a musical book through adorning both with calligraphic letters and embroidery motifs. The transformations operated  by Man on matter will also be highlighted through some manifestations of human genius, and crystallized in steel, glass, wood or stone. This traditional technical knowledge shall be confronted to the art of speech, in particular poetry, the corner stone of the song, weaving its words like silk threads stretching through the streets of Fez Medina.

Who has not penetrated the secrets of  this Weaver ?

He came to the world to stretch his thread

Between earth and sky he has set his loom

From the moon to the sun, he has made his shuttles

Said Kabir, the weaver mytical poet of Bénarès.

Beside its masters of oral language and word makers, music also possesses its artisans : Arab shaers, griots of Sub-Saharan Africa and rewayes of the High Atlas. They narrate the genealogy of princes and lords, leaving the precious stones of palaces to become prophets in these deserts from which the wisdom of people springs up.

Other words, the three letter words of Sarajevo, shall be an ode, uttered by Gotan Bregovic for the Jerusalem of the Balkans, for the city of mutiple creeds that has written history and been martyred by that very history. That same spiritual fervor,  linked to the historical vicissitudes, will host the evening show of the Soweto Gospel Choir.

The liturgy of the orthodox , hebrew, gregorian, andalucian and Jesuit of Bolivia  songs  will all contribute in their own way, with the same spirit, all addressed to a universal transcendance. Besides, the sung art of the sacred word will be celebrated in the Fire Bird (l’Oiseau de Feu), while gamelan and dancers from Bali or Rajasthan will apprehend the divine  in choregraphies where the body shall be modelled on the image of divinity.

Finally, the quest for the anitiatory trip will be conveyed by Jordi Savall and his Hesperion XXI ensemble which will pay tribute to Ibn Battuta, the traveller of Islam. The latter started his journey in 1351 at the age of twenty one, leaving Fez to roam the wide world for over thirty years. He moved towards other magical horizons like the city, just like the present Festival, opening its gates o the labile and infinite opportunities of the spirit.

Alain Weber

Artistic Director