Final days in Morocco

17 Dec

As the weather got colder here, the heat was really turned up, especially on school work!  This trip is coming to an end, for real this time.  Still a lot to do though, final exams and projects, and last rounds of exploring. I have been taking lessons on the Oud for a little while. It has been one of the best elements of the program. In one of the first entries, I indicated that at Petra in Jordan there was an opportunity to sit and listen to some bedouin musicians. Upon hearing the Oud and being allowed to try it, I made a vow to learn how to play this magnificent instrument. And it came to pass! I have learned to play various songs from across the Arab world, including some from the Late Um Khaltoum of Egypt. I’ll include video next time to show what it sounds like, but for now I would like to draw your attention to another important element of Moroccan culture: Gnawa music.

Gnawa is a style of music originating in Saharan africa. It combines lyric and poetry of Islam and African slave trade with very rough, repetitive and entrancing musicianship. A well-preserved style, I was able to sit in on several Gnawa performances during the time here in Fez, and it is really cool to see the instruments that are incorporated. There is Oud, Banjo, Violin, Kara-kebs (big metal castanets), african hand drums, and a Gimbri (looks like a 3 stringed bass made of a cardboard box and a broom handle). Here is a video of one of the performances.

goat hill Oud 2 Oud store view 2Most of the major cities throughout Morocco have an “Old Medina”, and an abundance of textile makers/distributors. My host dad makes clothing in one of these shops, but not just any clothing, he makes Djellabas. While the DishDash is the common apparel throughout the Levantine, The Djellaba has come to be an important piece of attire in the Magreb. They are made in an assortment of colors, are thicker than dishdashes, and very nice for the cold weather. So my host dad makes these for a living, check it out!

Anyway, my Dmealad is coming to visit this week and we will start making our way back to the US.  Stay tuned for one last entry, along with Oud video’s,  final farewells, and a final adventure in Fez and Rabat.

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