Tag Archives: music

New restaurant in Marrakech

Another new restaurant opening in #Marrakech

Buddha Bar in Marrakech door

Buddha-Bar in #Marrakech Bar Lounge Restaurant with Zen music mix

Buddha Bar in Marrakech Restaurant and Lounge

The latest addition to this hotel franchise created by Raymond Visan and Claude Challe – the first restaurant bar lounge being opened in Paris, France in 1996.

The Buddha-Bar attracts foreign yuppies and wealthy tourists – offering an upscale bar-restaurant with an orientalist ‘lounge’ ambience” serving Asian cuisine and DJ music offering an eclectic mix of avant-garde music . The franchise has even compiled albums of their music mix under the Buddha Bar brand released by George V Records.

Buddha Bar in Marrakech


The opening night in #Marrakech was on Friday, October 23rd, 2015. The Buddha-Bar is close to the new Menara Mall – check the opening night video


Multi-media Marrakech

Marrakech_water seller_short film on Marrakech_Suki Mok

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.”

So, sit back, relax and turn up your speakers…

To view video, see here: http://vimeo.com/87645206

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Ness Radio

ness radio, in Marrakesh

There might be blue skies in Morocco, but winter drags on in much of northern Europe and America. A great way to feel the warmth of Morocco is to tune in to the exotic sounds of Ness Radio.

Founded in 2008 in Marrakech by Younes Duret and Wattfutchureez, Ness Radio is the first collaborative Internet radio broadcast from Morocco. Broadcasting an eclectic range of music styles from house and electro to jazz, soul and hip-hop, the ethos of Ness Radio is to provide an exchange and sharing platform that transcends borders.

The radio station has recently released its first compilation: Kafilah 2.0. Kafilah 2.0 is a collaborative project that brings together 16 artists from different backgrounds around the theme of ‘Maghreb, East and West.’ The curious name has been inspired by the ancient adventurer Ibn Battuta who roamed the shores of the Mediterranean, Africa and Asia mainly through the Kafilah (caravan). The ‘2.0’ relates to the digital age.

The first 3 songs of the compilation have just become available as a free download. Expect to hear Gnawa rhythms and sax solos from Hamada El Mansour and work from French producer Woodini.

Listen to the radio station here and the first three tracks of Kafilah 2.0: http://nessradio.com/

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Fez World Sacred Music Festival

Musicians from Nile, Sacred music, festival fez

My friend, Kathy, is thrilled to be sharing the bill with Joan Baez, Björk, Wadie al Safi, Archie Shepp and other greats at Fez World Sacred Music Festival in Morocco. Her film, Pour une Nouvelle Seville, will screen June 14 2012 in the ancient, magical, World Heritage city of Fez, Morocco.

The Fes Festival of World Sacred Music

If you want to add Marrakesh to your trip to Fez, stay with us in the medina — in our authentic riads in the old city of Marrakech, beautifully renovated, great service and warm welcome.

www.riadariha.com or www.riadchichi.com

Making Music in the Marrakesh Medina

Music in Marrakech medina

An innovative recording studio in Marrakesh is opening doors for promising Moroccan musicians, writes our regular contributor, Derek Workman.
When the gods of rock and roll tell you it’s time to move on by flooding your recording studio twice in six months and then setting fire to it, just to make sure you got the message, you really do need to take notice.Nick Wilde lost everything in 2007 when his London-based production house, Fat Fox, went up in flames, so he and his wife Tatiana decided to step back for six months and see where life took them. It took them to Marrakesh, which, according to Nick, is the farthest you can get from London culturally in a three-and-a-half hour flight. The mixture of hedonism and history, the ancient narrow streets of the Medina and the up-beat modernity of Guèliz create an intoxicating brew. “There are some brilliant young musicians living in the Medina,” says Nick, “but most of them come from very meagre backgrounds, and there’s no way they could ever get produced, so when Tatiana and I bought an old riad and began to restore it, it seemed an obvious idea to convert part of it into a studio.” Mix in the rhythms of ribab, the Berber and Sufi songs of Gnawa, rap based on traditional African beats heard in the alleyways of the souks, and Nick’s own experience of house, electronic and hip-hop, and you begin to get a heady cross-cultural blend that’s particularly special. “We didn’t intend to start a business, but once I got a bit known, more and more people began to come to the studio. There’s a very rich network of talent to work with here and eventually I was working with some very interesting musicians from the Sahara, Agadir, Casablanca, all over Morocco. The whole thing just came together organically. I didn’t particularly plan it to happen.” Marrakchi Records was born.Nick and Marrakchi got their first major break when Café del Mar contacted him to produce a couple of tracks. He brought together a group of young musicians, who became Blue Medina, and although Café del Mar didn’t eventually use the material, the brother of one of the band sent a copy of the CD to 2M, the national radio and TV station. Their track, The Edge of the World, did very well on Moroccan radio and found its way on to several compilations in Europe.As a result, Nick had a phone call from Younes Lazrak, one of the main presenters, who loved the work Nick was doing. He offered Nick a forty-minute TV programme based on the bands and musicians working with Marrakchi Records. “That was Monday and I was in England,” recalls Nick. “The live show was on Saturday in Casablanca. We had four days to rehearse, and these were kids who had never even performed live, never mind in front of a camera. They went down an absolute storm.”

According to Nick, it’s this someone-passing-something-onto-someone-else that is the essence of working in Morocco. “Here almost everything is done through word of mouth, family and friends. So much happens out of the blue. It’s much more difficult to approach someone in London, but here everyone is helpful because they know it’s difficult to operate in the music business in Morocco, because it’s actually a very small industry.”

Caravane album, music Marrakech medina

The new album is now available
It was through Younes Lazrak that Nick found some of the musicians for his new album, Caravane (pictured above), which he describes as down-tempo and laid-back, a mixture of electronic and acoustic with a lot of Moroccan sounds. The vocals are in Arabic, but done in a way that is accessible to an international audience. During its recording, he was surprised to find that no-matter how contemporary the music seemed, it was still highly influenced by traditional themes. “Moroccans are highly patriotic people and have enormous respect for their musical traditions. It even shows itself in the rap scene, which is huge here,” he says.

At first glance, it’s not easy to uncover the music scene in Marrakech, beyond the westernised versions of Moroccan music found in the main clubs and hotels, but for Nick that can be a good thing. “It’s part of travel. You don’t always want to be spoon-fed everything; it can be a lot more interesting to go and find things yourself. Some of the smaller bars and clubs are beginning to put on traditional music, often mixed with European beats, but some of the best events are spontaneous. Occasionally you’ll hear of a group of Gnawa musicians taking over an old warehouse or large space and playing and dancing through the night. They are incredible, but never publicised. Perhaps that’s why there is no recognised “scene” as such. There is no sort of ‘What’s On’ guide to publicise things.”

Like anywhere in the world, throughout Marrakesh there are hundreds of kids recording music on computers in ‘bedroom studios’, but these are mainly backing tracks for rap. Marrakchi Records is one of only a handful of studios that can take budding musicians on to the next step.

“There’s a brilliant Moroccan producer called DJ Van, who’s probably the top producer for rap in the country. He’s having a lot of success with Fnaire. Kamar Studios are also in the Medina, and they’ve just released a three CD set of minimal trance called The Black Album, but they work mainly with bigger names, and most of their work is for films and major sound-scapes. They did the music for the opening of La Mamoumia, Marrakesh’s iconic hotel, after its €40 million re-fit. Apart from them, I’m the only small independent producer in the City, and the only one who actually works a lot with local kids. On the other hand, though, Marrakesh is becoming a major destination for international bands to record in because it’s such a great place to come to. There are a number of top-flight – and very, very expensive – studios springing up around the city.”

Music in Marrakech medina

Oum in performance mode
Marrakchi’s reputation has reached the point where Nick was able to call on the amazing vocals of Oum and the ribab and violin of Foulane, two of Morocco’s top musicians, who also have large followings in Europe, when he produced Caravane, but it was a long time getting there.

Music in Marrakech medina

Nick and Foulane in the studio
“It’s very slow getting established here. It took me about three years to begin to make any money at all, but even now, four years since I began producing in Marrakech, I still have to rely on about fifty percent of my income from the work I do in the UK.” And following his intention to get music from the Magreb known to a wider international audience can also be pretty time consuming. Nick spent over a year travelling around Morocco recording the music for Caravane, which finally comes out on release in November this year.Marrakech is in the musical eye at the moment, but there are plenty of other places on the up. “Essaouira is a great place to explore for music. There’s always live music on somewhere, and one of the best times to go is in June for the World Music Festival. It’s incredible, and bands come from all over the world. Agadir is also good, but for me the most interesting place at the moment is M’hammid, a town on the edge of the Sahara, about a ten-hour drive south from Marrakech. There’s music everywhere, every street corner has someone playing. They have the Nomads Festival every March, where you have both international musicians and nomadic bands from the desert playing. That’s my next project; I’m going to go to the area with a camera crew to record the desert rock that’s coming out of the region for release on CD and as a TV programme.   Caravane has just been released and is now available from : Click hereTo listen to a sample,click here.

More info: www.marrakchirecords.comOur regular contributor,Derek Workman is an English journalist living in Valencia City, Spain – although he admits to a love of Morocco and would love to up sticks and move here. To read more about life in Spain visit Spain Uncovered . Articles and books can also be found at Digital Paparazzi