Fantastic Entertainment at the Mawazine Festival

Morocco’s capital city, Rabat, will once again play host to the annual Mawazine World Rhythms Festival, set to take place from 16 to 24 May 2008. Organized by the Maroc-Cultures Association, the festival will welcome musicians and music-lovers from all over the world to join in this eight day celebration of the uniting power of music. The focus of the Mawazine Festival will be primarily on jazz and gypsy music, while embracing a wide variety of other music genres.

The Mawazine Festival 2008 art director, Aziz Daki, is confident that as in the past, this year’s event will be successful in its goal of promoting diversity and plurality through music, culture and art. It is anticipated that the positive interaction of artists and audiences from different countries, age groups and languages will promote the values of unity, tolerance, security, love and peace. An international symposium, “Music of the World and Cultural Diversity” will be held in tandem with the Mawazine Festival.

The Mawazine Festival 2008 will feature artists from forty countries in more than 100 musical performances. By emphasizing jazz and gypsy music, it is hoped that some of the less familiar music of minorities or ethnic music – especially with regard to South American and African rhythms – will be encouraged to become part of the festival.

Audiences can look forward to a performance by multiple award-winning U.S. jazz guitarist and singer, George Benson, as part of the opening ceremony. Artists who will be appearing on the festival program include, US jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ziggy Marley from Jamaica and Cheb Belal from Algeria. Middle-Eastern performers include Amr Diab, Nancy Ajram, Saver al-Rubai, Diana Haddad, Asala Nasry, Fadl Shaker and Natacha Atlas. Renowned Moroccan artists that will be entertaining audiences include Saeeda Fekri, Hayat Al Idrissi, Fatima Tihihite, Nass El Ghiwane, Latifa Raafat, Jil Jilala and Lemchaheb. Hip-hop groups include Darga, Fnaire, Hoba Hoba Spirit and H-Kayne. Popular American singer, Whitney Houston is expected to perform during the festival’s closing ceremony.

An exciting feature of the Mawazine Festival is the “Mawazine Generation” contest, which gives aspiring musicians between the ages of 15 and 30 a platform to showcase their talent to a large audience and a professional jury. The National Radio and Television Company will give the winner the opportunity to produce an album and a video, which will be distributed to Moroccan television channels for broadcast. The winner of the 2008 Mawazine Generation contest will participate in the 2009 Mawazine Festival.

So, if you are visiting exotic Morocco during the month of May, make sure that Rabat and the Mawazine Festival is on your itinerary for a memorable music experience.