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.
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.
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.
Unless you’ve been on Mars for the past couple of weeks, you’ll probably have noticed that the glamour stakes have been well and truly turned up to ten here in Marrakech.
British socialite and model Poppy Delevingne may have married in London recently, but that wasn’t to stop her having another bash, to celebrate her marriage to James Cook, this time in Marrakech. The wedding extravaganza meant a completely star-studded guest list, featuring some of the biggest names in British fashion. Amongst the A-list was Princess Beatrice, Sienna Miller, Georgia May Jagger, Alexa Chung and Dynasty icon Joan Collins.
Marrakech brings out the photographer in most of us. The light, the colours, the costumes and the winding souks all present incredible opportunities for travel photography. Even if you’re not normally one for taking holiday snaps, you will almost certainly regret not bringing a camera along with you to Marrakech.
There are plenty of tips online about how to take good photos, but these ones specifically address travel photography.
Our blog usually covers art, fashion, jewellery, dining out and various other cultural activities that our guests enjoy so much. This week however, we bring you news of an exciting, but all together more down-to-earth, discovery. Newspapers reported last week that a brand new species has been discovered in Morocco – the curiously named ‘flic flac’ spider.
Found in south-eastern Morocco, not far from the Algerian border, this little arachnid caught our eye as he is quite unique in the insect world. To get around the Sahara this spider propels itself along by is its ability to move by means of flic-flac jumps. It literally cartwheels across the sand and is believed to be the only spider in the world to move this way. An acrobatic little fellow!
Morocco is awash with artistic talent. At home – and abroad – there are hundreds of excellent Moroccan artists working in various fields. One such artist that we’ve been keeping an eye on for some time now is the French Moroccan artist Yasmina Alaoui who works with her Chilean photographer partner Marco Guerra. Together, they combine their artistic talents to craft haunting and mesmerising works of art.
Born in 1977, Alaoui spent her childhood in France and Morocco, eventually studying at the Ecole Du Louvre in Paris. Guerra, was born in Chile in 1965, is a fashion photographer, whose work has appeared in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Conde Nast Traveller, as well as famous fashion brands such as Levi’s and Ralph Lauren. Their work is like nothing we’ve ever seen, although we can certainly see the Moroccan influences and colours.
If it is a Moroccan summer mood you’re looking for, look no further.
Almost exactly one year ago, in the early summer of 2013, the Greek photographer Yiannis Hadjiaslanis travelled around Morocco and photographed eleven urban centres – including Casablanca, Tangier, Fez and Marrakech – over 23 days.
The photographic journey and project – called Intersections – intensely highlighted his discovery of a contemporary and colourful Morocco. Avoiding the typical travel images or clichés he shows how multi-layered Mediterranean atmospheres and curious colours permeate into the everyday.
The lovely folks at Dubai Eye Radio – one of the best radio stations in the Middle East – asked us to tell them what it’s like running a riad in the heart of Marrakech. Before we knew it, we were on-air being broadcast around the region and beyond.
Our story was on a particular show called ‘The Road Less Travelled’ which is all about exploring other cultures and authentic travel. The Travel Show is presented by Lucy Taylor and Mark Lloyd who, every week, help their listeners ‘stay up to date and learn to navigate potential pitfalls with practical travel tips and on the ground advice from the experts in the know.’
The Travel Show covers all elements of travel, tourism, hospitality, leisure and lifestyle – looking at everything from local UAE escapes and entertainment to international vacation options and attractions.
You can listen to our own interview here, care of this podcast:
Travel and music go together. Just like a photograph brings back memories a song can take you back to a certain place too.
This week we stumbled upon a beautiful piece of film which we feel has successfully captured the essence of Marrakech. It has been created by Suki Mok, a talented musician, turned photographer.
Suki shot the short film on his Blackmagic camera and it has been set to a transporting piece of music by Jose Gonzalez – a song called ‘Step out’, which has an ethereal, travel vibe to it.
The film takes the audience through some of Morocco’s finest sights such as the Atlas Mountains, Berber villages, the Medina souks, Jardin Majorelle and the Koutoubia Minaret. All of these iconic sights were expertly captured on Suki’s first ever visit to Morocco, watching it is a bit like seeing the country through fresh eyes. Suki says of his journey:
“Just an hour’s drive away will take you to the stunning Atlas mountains, where the Berbers still live in villages untouched by modern society. The film is rich with new colours, patterns and faces with wholly unique stories – it was a truly unforgettable experience.”