Morocco, as an ancient Mediterranean culture is known by its surviving rituals and beliefs, poetically expressed in the daily life of its people. Music is a reflective mirror to the secular and spiritual life of Moroccans, it is expressed in every occasion to reflect the thoughts and feelings universally known to be difficult to express otherwise. The celestial essence of this journey will take you to a world of marvels and reflection emersed in diverse types of music from Moroccan pop music known as Oughnia and Chaabi music, to Sufi spiritual music of different tariqas expressed in chants of Samaa Of the Tariqa Boutchichia or Tijani, or Shadhiliya Tariqa, to trance druming as in Issawa, Hmadcha, Jilala, Heddawa, Gnawa and many other sufi orders in Morocco. Rai music, Reggada and Jajouka Have attracted even big stars of Western Pop music such as the Rolling Stones, Crosby Still Nash and Young, the Dooby Brothers, Cat Stevens, Jimmy Hendrix, Peter Gabriel, Sting and many others who have fused or barrowed some rhythms and melodies from traditional Moroccan music. Come learn about the first strutured written music known as the Andalusian music that gave birth in 13 and 14th centuries to Classical Western music and to the popular Flamenco and Fado in Spain and Portugal. The Malhoun is a rythmic prose in a very popular style unique to Morocco and most authentic since the 12th century, a style that does not exist anywhere else but Morocco. Some of the Berber Tribal music is hard to trace as some ritual and belifs in Morocco can go as far as the Neolithic time. Join us for this very informative palette of Muisc that might enrich your repertoire or simply add to your knowledge about world Music. Learn about the history of some handmade musical instruments that exist only in some western history books. You are welcome to dance, share, participate and absorb a wide spectrum of indigenous Moroccan music.
Day 1: Home / Casablanca
flight to Casablanca.
Day 2: Casablanca / Volubilis
Arrive at Casablanca airport where you will be greeted by the Sarah Tours staff. Transfer to Volubilis a striking site visible for miles from the various bends in the approach road. This ethereal place was the central point of the introduction of Judaism by the Jewish traders, Christianity by the Romans and Islam by the grandson of the prophet Mohamed, Moulay Idris Al Akbar to the Berber natives of Morocco. Relaxing day at the peaceful hotel of Volubilis overlooking the valley and the ruins of this ancient sanctuary of great spiritual stature. Afternoon walk to the holy city of Moulay Idriss, the first Islamic city in Morocco and home of many Sufi orders that have been formed though the centuries. This is an important introduction to a spiritual aspect of the Moroccan society. Explore the labyrinth of this medieval and venerated city in Morocco. A brief intro session and rhythm get-together after dinner. Early to sleep on the first night.
Day 3: Volubilis / Moulay Idriss
A visit to Volubilis, the Roman capital of Northwestern Africa in the morning with a meditation session in the ruins of this ancient site. Walk back through the ancient olive tree grove that attracted Martin Scorsese in "The Last Temptation of Christ". Lunch at the gardens of the hotel over looking the legendary Romans Ruins. An hour work shop of drumming with an introduction to the local trance dancers and drummers of the Hmadsha Sufi Order who are well respected throughout the Islamic world for their Praises and Percussions.
Day 4: Fez
Travel to Fes. Check into the hotel for lunch. Afternoon devoted to discovering Fes. The historic tour begins at the mellah, (the Jewish quarter), the king's palace and the Bat'ha museum of Moroccan arts then the walking tour of the Medina, the fascinating walled city with its incredible maze of medieval twisting alleys, blind turns, mosques, shrines, fountains, workshops and every conceivable kind of market. Stop at El Hajj Lebbar House for mint tea and an introduction to The Issawa spiritual music, dinner will be served in a typical Moroccan restaurant in the Medina then return to the Moorish house for a complete Issawa night of chanting and drumming.
Day 5: Fes / Zallagh
Morning to relax. An introduction to Jajouka rhythm and customs. Afternoon excursion to Mt. Zallagh in the Riff Mountains. Meet the mule caravan and explore the region escorted with the Jajouka Musicians and dancers. A mint tea party with the sunset over Fes at the shrine of Sidi Ahmed Al Barnoussi. A retreat sanctuary for Sufis from all over Morocco. Dinner and dancing in a Moroccan restaurant with Chaabi musicians.
Day 6: Fez
Morning devoted to shopping in the Medina for musical instruments and other artifacts. Afternoon workshop in the Gnawa rhythms, trance ritual and customs. After dinner, a trip back to the heart of the Medina at the Mernissi Moorish palace for the Gnawa Ceremony, trance dance and Henna ceremony.
Day 7: Fez / Erfoud
The first hills you see of the Middle Atlas seem oddly un-Moroccan. Evergreen pines, tall cedar trees on the peaks and poplars stand copiously on the foot hills, laced with flowing streams. The road across is almost ceremonial. Azrou, the first real town of the Middle Atlas, stands at a major junction of routes, it's an important market center, and it has long held a strategic role in controlling the Berbers of the mountains. The Middle Atlas cease at Midelt, where suddenly, through the haze, appear the much greater peaks of the High Atlas which formidably rise to over 12,000 feet behind the town to reach a massive range, the Dgebel Ayashi. The drama of this sight, tremendous in the clear, cool noon, is the most compelling reason to stop over for lunch. Erfoud, one of the most pleasing of all southern routes: a dry, red belt of desert, and then suddenly, a drop into the valley filled with date palm groves. Dinner accommodations at Kasbah Asmaa Guest House.
Day 8: Merzouga Dunes / Rissani / Erfoud
Lecture in the morning on Berber tribal music with Hamid Mernissi. Visit the holy city of Rissani after lunch, then continue the quest to Erg Chebbi. An experience not to be missed is to watch the sun sets from the spectacular Merzouga dunes of the Sahara which is so beautiful that no words can describe it. Dinner with the Touaregs and the Rokba Tagmount Dance. Sensual music and Camping over the dunes.
Day 9: Erfoud / Tineghir
The highest the narrowest gorges in the region are Todras, only 15 km from Tineghir. Traveling through the Dades valley in spring you will find the bloom of thousands of Persian roses filling up the air with an ethereal aroma certainly from heaven - cultivated as hedgerows dividing the different plots. Thousands of Kasbahs scattered in a surreal fashion as sand castles standing erect in the shadow of time along the Dades river. Ahwash Megounamusic and dance in a Berber home. Dinner and accommodation at Hotel Bougafer in Tineghir.
Day 10: Tineghir / Ouarzazate
Travel through El Kelaa De Mgouna and Boumalne exploring the Dades Valley and continue to Ouarzazate: one large Oasis intercepting the flow of ages between the Dades, the Draa valleys and the Majestic High Atlas. Dinner and accommodation in the Berber Palace Hotel. Berber Ahwash Howara dancers in a local home.
Day 11: Ouarzazate / Marrakesh
Depart to Marrakech via Taddart and Tizi n?Tishka pass at an elevation of 11,000 ft. in an impressive site dividing these mountains in two distinct aspects: one side acts as a shield to protect the hinterland from the Sahara harsh and dry expansion, the other side collects the moisture of the Gherbi winds from the Atlantic ocean, soft and evergreen. So is life of the Berber dwellers. Arrival in Marrakech the "Morocco City" as the early travelers called it for it has always been something of a pleasure city, a market place where the southern tribesmen and Berber villagers bring in their goods, spend their money, and find entertainment. For tourists, it's an enduring fantasy - a city of immense beauty, low, pink, and tent-like before a great shaft of mountains, and immediately exciting. Lunch at the Almoravides Hotel. Visit of the famous Jemaa El Fna square. Dinner in a local home with the local Dekka music and the famous Gnawa music and dance. Over night at the hotel.
Day 12: Marakesh
Morning devoted to discovering the historical sights. Lunch at the La Paix Restaurant (an art deco French restaurant). Fare well Dinner at a Jewish restaurant in the Mellah, a typical festivity of Andalucian and Sepherdic music. Overnight at the Almoravides hotel.
Day 13: Marakesh / Home
Early morning transfer to Marrakesh airport, connect in Casablanca with the transatlantic flight back home with a memorable jouney to treasure for a lifetime.
Morocco Music Tour Includes:
- 11 nights accommodation in 4 star hotels.
- Half board (breakfast and dinner).
- Land transportation in A/C 4WD vehicle.
- Services of lecturer and English-speaking guide/escort.
- Entrance fees to monuments and museums.
- Hotel tax and service charges.
Cities Visited & Hotels Used in Morocco:
- Volubilis: 2 nights, hotel Volubilis or similar
- Fez: 3 nights, Riad La Perle de Medina or similar
- Erfoud: 2 nights, Kasbah Mounia or similar
- Tineghir: 1 night, Kasbah Lamrani or similar
- Ouarzazate: 1 night, Hotel Belere or similar
- Marrakesh: 2 night, Hotel El Andalous or similar