A few details remembered.

In the summer of 2012 I got to spend a few weeks in Morocco as part of my graduate program. I wrote some posts about that. I made a short video on an NGO project with two of my classmates and attended a great deal of the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music.

Taxi selfies.

taxi selfie

While I was there I took a lot of pictures and filmed a lot of things. I didn’t adequately back everything up, but around 60G of video has been sitting on my external hard drive for nearly two years now. Much of it is either interview footage for that NGO video or video from the festival that I’m not sure what to do with since I couldn’t begin to tell you who is performing in those videos.

Sufi Nights were my favorite parts of the festival. Somewhere in a paper I wrote for my professor that no other eyes will ever see, I talked about the divide between the lavish paid portions of the festival and the free concerts, which were generally more grounded in “sacred music.” It has been so long now that my memory of it all has been reduced to a strange, hazy blur of linguistic hurdles. (I had to have nearly every interview summarized for me after we left, due to my linguistic ineptitude.) All of that being said, I remember feeling something palpable and powerful about being allowed to join an experience like that.

I have all these videos of that and they’re nice to have, but they feel too intimate to share. I don’t expect to do much of anything with them besides watch them in the occasional fit of nostalgia until one day they don’t get backed up and then that, too, will be relegated to what memory can hold.

Still, that’s a lot of video and it assumes an awful lot of available time. There’s something to be said for the process of making a scrapbook – even if you never revisit it – the time you took to reflect in order to assemble has its own merit and worth.

If you do dust it off and show it to others, it can be a quick way to let them absorb some part of a time in your life. Here are some of the visuals that I remember from that time. In sharing these sights we get to know each other some small fraction better than we did before.

Consider this that. Two minutes of sights and sounds that conjure a host of memories for me and which hopefully show you a little something of this thing I did once. An experience I once had. A person I once was.

Not featured: cats. So many cats, so little video.

Fes Festival of World Sacred Music 2012
Opening Concert
Friday, June 8, 2012
Tribute to Omar Khayyâm
Directed by Tony Gatlif


I have some photos from the trip on Flickr, if you’re interested.

Morocco blog posts:
Packing, Underwear, and Earthquakes
Baby Spice in Morocco
Lets have relations.

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  • wlreed

    The thing you say about the videos being too intimate to share reminded me of the opening lines to The Body, the novella by Stephen King that Stand By Me was based on. I have to quote because I love it so much:

    “The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them – words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.”

    With all that, I sincerely thank you for this video, because the music honestly gave me chills. It was amazing and awe-inspiring. (I loved all the scenery and people watching elements, too, but it has been stated that music owns my soul. So of course that’s what I reacted most to.)

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      I wish my videos weren’t so shitty and that I had an idea who all the musicians were because I would LOVE to share more of the music. The Sufi Nights stuff was out of this world good, but it was also very much an experiential thing. Some of it was very… “You had to be there and feel it.”

      I went into the course with zero knowledge of world sacred music, so the whole thing was a really interesting experience. We had to read some academic journal articles and such before we got there but obviously there’s a whole world of disconnect between that and the actual thing.

      And I really, really wish I could adequately explain the different elements of the festival. Like, the song is the opening of the festival (which is also what we were waiting for when I got pooped on…) at the very fancy place outside the medina. Most of the concerts (I snuck a couple quick clips from Sufi Nights in there) I actually attended were free and a totally, totally different experience. I hate that I didn’t do a better job of capturing all of that.

      My friend Vivian (the one eating the honey thing with me at the end) contributed to a Fes blog as part of her course assignment and I might try to track down some of what she wrote because she’s amazing and had a much better flare for articulating this stuff than I did. (As did Amanda, the girl at the beginning.)

      We all kept a blog for the class, too, but I was the one who bought the domain name and I gave no fucks about paying the money to renew it when it lapsed since they didn’t have subsequent classes contributing to it. (We have another practicum in India that HAS maintained it’s blog from one cohort to the next, but that one is much better organized.)

      Ramble ramble ramble… the music was incredible and I’m glad you enjoyed it :)