Saturday, April 18, 2015

Art on Show in Sefrou Today

Artist Amberlea McNaught with one of the pieces she created during the residency
Today, Saturday April 18, from 3 pm to 6 pm in Sefrou, you can see the latest results from the Culture Vulture artist's residency program. In Fondouk Huddadine is a series of small "open studios", with artists on hand to talk about their work
Organiser Jess Stephens says that the Culture Vulture's fifth residency program is all about contemporary artists connecting with artisans using traditional methods. "The artisans are often surprised at the artists' skill with tools, their motivation to learn, and the way they apply the techniques," she says.

Two artists who stayed for the whole five week residency were Amberlea McNaught, above, from the UK, and Kristy Morgan from Australia. Other artists who joined them for shorter periods were Sander Wassink from Holland and Cristina Noguer, from Spain.

Plaster containers made by Amberlea McNaught

Amberlea is a ceramist from Sheffield, who occasionally works with leather. She says that the experience of working with master artisan plasterer Abdul Razzak Bahij "blew my socks off". From Fez, he has more than 35 years experience, and has worked on major projects including the Islamic Art exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum. "His technique was simple, but it was his speed and precision that were amazing," she says.

Whereas previously Amberlea used plaster only to cast works in clay, during her residency she was taught to carve blocks of plaster. "I learned everything through chisel, hand and eye, as we couldn't speak the same language...Before I came here I thought it (plaster carving) was a sacred art that is dead, but it is very much alive. The money is bad, but I love it so much, I don't care about the money."

Local artisan Rachid Farrouch with leatherworker Kristy Morgan and some of her work

Kristy McNaught, from Brisbane, is a leatherworker who makes bags, leather jewellery and shoes. She worked with two sets of artisans during her residency, including Rachid Farrouch. "At the beginning communication was difficult," he says. "However, as we went along we started to understand each other's ways of working and it became more of an exchange...I taught her the techniques I knew, and I was surprised at the way she (Kristy) applied them."

Shoes by Kristy Morgan

While Kristy enjoyed the experience of working with Rachid, she says working with the shoe "malaam", or master artisan, was more difficult, due to the attitude of his apprentices. "I had to push. They didn't understand I wanted to do things myself. They tried to do them for me." She feels gender also played a part. "Even in Australia, being a female leatherworker is not all that common." However she did succeed in making two pairs of shoes.

Kristy found her visit to the Fez tanneries eye-opening. "The conditions they were in gave me a totally new respect for the process. They work really hard."

Jess Stephens from Culture Vultures at the first open studio day

When: Saturday April 18 from 3 pm to 6 pm
Where: Fondouk Huddadine, Sefrou Medina. (Turn left at the river, and left again at the "junk" market, and then first right and ask for the Fondouk. If you get lost, phone 06 45 22 32 03.) 
Info: Culture Vultures CLICK HERE

Artists' websites: Kristy Morgan -; Amberlea McNaught -

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Cool Weather for Opening of Fes Sufi Festival

Although the day started with fog, the weather for the Fes Festival of Sufi Culture is expected to improve during the week and be fine but cool for tonight's opening performance

Faouzi Skali

For the opening ceremony at 4pm in the Batha Museum venue, the sun should be out and temperatures around 22 degrees Celsius. The opening will be performed by Festival Director Faouzi Skali with Bariza Khiari and Roderick Grierson.

Local star - Marouane Hajji - photo Sandy McCutcheon

Sunset today is just before 8pm and the evening concert at the Batha Museum, an homage to Rabiaa Adawiyya, will feature Samira Kadiri, Fatim Azzahra Kortobi, Marouane Hajji and Salah Eddin Mohssine. The weather will be cool with temperatures around 15 degrees.

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Artists' Work on Show in Sefrou

In the Sefrou Medina on Friday April 17 and Saturday April 18 from 3 pm to 6 pm, check out the innovative results of the latest Culture Vulture artists' residency. We will be bringing you a full report tomorrow 

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Eating Out During the Fes Festival of Sufi Culture

A quick guide to fine food and great atmosphere for hungry festival visitors

Dar Roumana

Given that the the theme of the festival is 'The Religion of Love', the folks at Dar Roumana suggest it  is the place for "the love of food". So if you wish to celebrate music, love and food during your appreciation of the Sufi Music Festival, then Dar Roumana is the place to do it.

The main dining room at Dar Roumana

Contact: Dar Roumana 30 Derb el Amer Zkak Roumane Fes Medina Morocco +212 660 29 04 04 (mobile) +212 535 741 637

Fez Cafe

Sparkling ambiance at Fez Cafe

The colourful and cosy Fez Cafe at Jardin des Biehn has a gorgeous interior and also an outdoor garden setting. A great place to chill out between events.

Contact: 0664647679 or

Riad Karawan

The comfortable and stylish terrace of Riad Karawan 

Riad Karawan is open for Sunday brunch and afternoon teas during the week.  You can lunch on their terrace, which has a spectacular view over the Medina, the Ottoman-inspired courtyard, or in their romantic dining room.

Contact: 05 35 63 78 78 or

Maison Moi Anan

Tranquility and great Thai food

The best Thai food in town - indeed many towns - is at the recently opened Maison Moi Anan off the Talaa Kbira, where designer and Thai chef extraordinaire, Anan, cooks up a storm. Using the freshest of local ingredients, supplemented by imported herbs and spices, the subtle and authentic blend of flavours is an unexpected but exciting experience to find in the Fez Medina. Please note: they are open for lunch from 12 midday.

Contact: 06 28 88 79 09 or 05 35 63 57 13 or

Resto 7

Elegance and fine food at Resto 7

The food renaissance at Restaurant Numero 7, (commonly referred to as "Resto 7"), has been brought about by an innovative program of chef's residencies. The food and service are always of a high standard.

Contact: 06 69 42 77 849 or

The Ruined Garden

The Ruined Garden restaurant is a delight. Opening hours are between 1  and 9.30pm. For those needing to keep in touch there is free Wifi in the garden and  a wide range of snacks, cakes and all day brunch. And there will be no annoying background music - just great ambiance and tranquility.

Contact: 06 49 19 14 10 or
13 Derb Idrissi, Sieje, Sidi Ahmed Chaoui. Ph 06 49 19 14 10

Palais Amani

A great lunch venue from 11.30 am to 3pm. A choice of evening meals in courtyard or dining room from 5.30 until 11pm. 

Palais Amani is also holding a special event- A workshop and concert by Anass Habib, a great specialist of traditional Arabic songs. Dates available: 23 and 25 April.
Maximum Persons: 15. *Booking essential as sales will be closed once numbers are reached.

The courtyard is great for lunch

Palais Amani Derb el Miter, Blida
tél +212 5 35 63 32 09
fax +212 5 35 63 32 29

Café Clock

Cafe Clock is one of the most visited cafes in the medina and because the menu is available all day, it is a perfect place to drop in for food or simply a jice or coffee. If you fancy learning to cook Moroccan cuisine, pick up some of the local Darija (Moroccan Arabic), try a little belly dancing, then check out the Clock cultural programme.  (Hint - try the Camel burger!)

Street Food

Every year since 2006 The View from Fez has selected Thami's as some of the best street food. It is still great, but there are also many new vendors with good food. The overall quality of Fez street food has grown much better over the last few years and it is recommended.

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Royal Air Maroc Adds a Second Dreamliner

The Royal Air Morocco (RAM) airline continues its upgrades with the Airline officially taking possession of his second 787-8 Dreamliner at Mohammed V airport in Casablanca

RAM received its first 787-8 Dreamliner on January 3, and the second this week. The latest addition to its fleet is configured for 18 Business Class passengers and 256 in Economy. According to the airline, Royal Air Morocco passengers will benefit from optimal travel comfort and reduce 25 minutes of travel time on routes to New York from Casablanca and Casablanca-Montreal. The company also serves Sao Paulo in Brazil.

This new delivery is part of an order for a total of five B787 Dreamliners. The third will be delivered in March 2016. The other two aircraft will be delivered in April 2016 and March 2017.

The first Dreamliner entered commercial service on the 19th of January 2015, with training flights daily between Casablanca-Mohammed V and Paris-Orly, flights to New York-JFK and since March 31, 2015 Dakar in Senegal.

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