The Sounds of Marrakech
All of our senses come alive when we walk in the Medina. People often write of the sights and smells – the colours, the spices and so on – but what of the sounds?
This week we stumbled upon a wonderful collection of sound vignettes on the website of Reorient Magazine called ‘Here and Now. Voices of Marrakech’. The recordings capture the sounds of Marrakech perfectly.
This is the creator, Julia Tieke, of the ‘soundscape’ or ‘sonic map’ talking about the project:
-Usually visuals take precedence when one visits cities. Do you hear cities?
“I am very aware of the soundscape of cities, and try to exercise separating sounds from sight, as our vision influences our hearing a lot. Sounds are much less clear, and very often ambiguous when separated from their sources. Hearing cities, for me, also goes beyond the literally audible; it includes listening to stories – those told by people, those hidden, and those imagined.”
Just close your eyes and listen and you’ll be taken straight to the souks.
Five minutes of inspiration
A great way to get inspired about Marrakech and all it has to offer is to look at the wealth of wonderful photography available on the web. We recently stumbled upon this page which highlights just a few of the amazing things that you can see, buy, touch and photograph in Morocco:
And, if we feel like stepping back in time, we turn to British Pathe and their amazing wealth of old films shot in Morocco. We watched this one this week and particularly liked the stirring music!
Morocco – movie star central
Ewan McGregor just left Marrakech after filming My Kind of Traitor – a thriller adaptation of the novel by John le Carre about an English couple who while on holiday in Marrakech, meet a shady Russian millionaire and then get into deep trouble.
Tom Hanks has also visited recently, for his movie A Hologram for a King, which was filmed in both Casablanca and Marrakesh, so imagine our surprise when we heard more A-listers had arrived with their entourages to our city! This time it’s everyone’s favourite action hero – Bruce Willis.
Bruce is currently in Marrakesh for the shooting of Barry Levinson’s next movie, Rock the Kasbah – due to premiere in the US in the spring of 2015. He is joined by Kate Hudson, Danny McBride, Scott Caan, Zooey Deschanel, and Leem Lubany who are also in Marrakech to star in the comedy. The story of Rock the Kasbah is about Richie Vance, a past-it music manager who decides to send one of his performing artists on a tour in aid of American troops in Afghanistan.
We heard on the grapevine that Bruce Willis was seen last Tuesday casually taking a walk in Gueliz, hidden partly in a baseball cap but instantly recognisable none-the-less!
Follow us on Twitter where we regularly post celebrity updates about Marrakech: https://twitter.com/RiadSapphire
Photo montage – Southern Morocco
Travel writing and photographic projects both flourish in artistic Morocco but what is really interesting is how new social media forms – combined with cheaper high-quality camera lenses – are helping to facilitate a whole new generation of creative reporters.
This week, we stumbled upon a wonderful photo montage, or presentation, of one man’s car journey through Morocco.
Dave Fields, from Portland, Oregon, starts in Marrakech and while his words are minimal – in classic photo journalism style – his amazingly good photographs speak volumes.
Dave says of his adventure:
“Although our stint in Marrakech was short-lived, it does not take long to be absorbed into the fervid pace of the old Medina. Winding through the intricacies of the frenzied souks, losing all sense of direction seems nearly effortless as you follow the barrage of unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells. Marrakech is a true bombardment of the senses.”
He then travels to the High Atlas and winds westwards, then down to the southern coast and Essaouira.
Take a look at his story here and enjoy the wonderfully evocative photos: https://davefields.exposure.co/southern-morocco
Getting musical in Fez
For this week’s blog post we travel to Fez to bring you news of the Sacred Music Festival which is running from June 13th to the 21st.
During this time, Fez will be a veritable hot-bed of creativity as the festival kicks-off for another year. The annual theme this time is ‘The Conference of the Birds – Journey of Cultures’ and it will see huge international stars like the Blues legend Buddy Guy perform, the tabla master Zakir Hussain and the soulful Sengalese singer Youssou N’Dour.
The festival is a famous and renowned world event, which is not just a music festival but an event which actively promotes cross-cultural understanding. Something that is more important today than ever if you have the time, definitely pay a visit.
For tickets and to find out more visit www.fesfestival.com
Small museum showing artistic handwoven rugs
What fabulous news! The Medina now has a new place full of history and lovely things – the Boucharouite Museum, an initiative devoted to Moroccan folk art. The museum takes its name from the ‘boucharouite’ carpet, also known as the rag rug, which are made by women in remote villages throughout Morocco.
They are prominently on display at the museum, as are other items including Berber doors and photos.
Boucharouite has long been considered the ‘carpet of the poor’, but of course they are actually highly prized and come in many colours, shapes and materials and often carry the heavy weight of sentimental value.
This new small museum gives these wonderful pieces of folk art a home and a platform. Add it to your list of things to do in Marrakech this summer.
Museum Boucharouite. 40 Dhs entry, free for children under 16 years. Open from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Closed Sunday and August. No website. Telephone: 0524 38 38 87 or email: email@example.com
Azbezt 107, derb El Cadi
40000 Marrakesh, Morocco
If arriving by taxi, ask for Ben Saleh
Any designer/traveller/photographer/artist worth their salt has a soft-spot for Marrakech. Over the years artistic people have flocked to the city drawn like moths to a flame for its colours, scenery, landscapes and people. The city is a hive of inspiration and creativity.
So, it’s no wonder that Pinterest, the photo pin-board website has hundreds of boards where people have put up (or ‘pinned’) their favourite pictures of the city.
From hotels to fashion designers, travellers to musicians, there are photos to inspire even the most jaded traveller. Some of the best ones are those curated by interior designers, who naturally have a flair.
Here is just a handful of some of our favourites – and ones which we follow.
http://www.pinterest.com/riadlinda/ – owned by Linda Lyons who runs a beautiful riad in the Marrakech medina.
http://www.pinterest.com/magicmarrakech/ – ‘magic is something you make’ a statement we agree with!
http://www.pinterest.com/beyondmarrakech/ – ‘Twirling the souks of Marrakech, sourcing vintage Moroccan carpets and wedding blankets. Building guesthouse Dar Zohra in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco.’
http://www.pinterest.com/LaMamouniaHotel/ – needs no introduction, keep up with their board to see regular pictures of the bold and the beautiful in the city’s most famous hotel.