Journey to Morocco

Our musical tour of Morroco with the Yuval Ron Ensemble

Day 7: Touring Marrakesh, and the Night of the Ten Thousand Candles

Hello everybody. Here’s what happened on our tour through Morocco on day 7.

We met for breakfast in the hotel (as usual), and Hamid and Yuval led a discussion about the concert they were going to play that evening, including how it came about, where it was being held, who our hosts were, and who would be attending the concert. We were told that the concert was being held in the private home of a wealthy Marrakesh property developer. The concert was to be dedicated to the memory of the host’s father. The venue was an upscale home on the edge of Marrakesh. Attending would include about three hundred dignitaries from foreign embassies in Morocco, and other well-connected people. Surprisingly, our group of weary, but eager travelers was invited as well, both to the concert, and the following dinner (and I’d be doing a video shoot). After hearing about how the plans for the concert came about, we were all really excited for a great night of music, food, and fun.

At breakfast, with Hamid telling us about tonight's concert

At breakfast, with Hamid telling us about tonight's concert

After breakfast, the ensemble members (including Dror), left us mere tourists for their concert rehearsal, setup, and sound-check, while the remainder of the tour member separated into smaller groups for more touring of Marrakesh, and shopping. We started our morning tour at the El Badi Palace, and spent a while taking pictures inside the palace. Next up was “Jemaa el Fna” and the souks, where we separated into even smaller groups and traversed the labyrinth of shops in the medina. We’ve heard about how easy it is to get lost in the marketplace, but, until you experience it those winding, narrow alleyways for yourself, you cannot truly appreciate it. Some of the more interesting stores we visited included the pharmacy, and a antique store.

Touring in Marrakesh

Touring in Marrakesh

A spice dealer in Marrakesh

A spice dealer in Marrakesh

An olive dealer in Marrakesh

An olive dealer in Marrakesh

The souks in Marrakesh

The souks in Marrakesh

A pharmacy in Marrakesh

A pharmacy in Marrakesh

Another view of the pharmacy

Another view of the pharmacy

We headed back to the hotel around 3pm for a late lunch (in anticipation of a late dinner). I wasn’t hungry, and was really interested in finding a wi-fi connection. So, I put my computer and camera-bag on my back, and headed up the road one of the fancier hotel’s in Marrakesh, the “Sufitel”. I walked through the huge lobby, and out to the bar by the pool, pretending to be one of the many guests staying at the hotel. Nobody paid any attention to me, and I quickly verified that they did indeed have an open wi-fi. I ordered a beer and sat by the pool for almost two hours, uploading day five blog text and pictures, and resolving a credit-card issue that had come up.

I paid cash for the beer (which cost as much as a beer in an upscale American hotel), then waked back to our much less grand hotel, showered and prepared for the night’s concert and dinner.

We all met up outside the hotel at 7pm for a bus-ride to the concert. We were told to dress as nicely as we could, and it was great to see that many of the tour member were wearing traditional Moroccan garb that they had purchased in the souks earlier in the day. We had a big picture taking fest, and we managed to get a hotel porter to take a group photo for us (though some poeple on the edges got cut off). The group looked so sharp, well dressed, to be respectful for our gracious hosts.

Our group photo (partial)

Our group photo (partial)

Glen, dressed for a Moroccan party

Glen, dressed for a Moroccan party

Some of the men on the tour

Some of the men on the tour

We got to the venue, and this was no mere house. It was a beautiful palace. All around the house ten thousand candles had been lit, and set up almost everywhere, including a sea of candles setup on the grass in in the back yard between the home and a patio covered with a roof held up by towering pillars. There were four ponds surrounded by walkway, where the deep sound of frogs was everywhere. There was a stage setup, well lit, where the Yuval Ron Ensemble was still doing sound check. Set in front of the stage were rugs and pillows, and surrounding that chairs for us to sit on. The members of our tour had arrived before the remainder of the guests. I grabbed a spot in the front-middle, and began to setup for recording the concert video.  

The venue for the first Yuval Ron Ensemble performance in Morocco

The venue for the first Yuval Ron Ensemble performance in Morocco

Another view of the house

Another view of the house

Candles everywhere

Candles everywhere

The patio behind the frog ponds at the Marrakesh party

The patio behind the frog ponds at the Marrakesh party

We were graciously welcomed by our hosts, and they seemed to be genuinely nice, friendly people. 

The plan was for the ensemble to perform before the dinner. But, there were problems with the sound system, and the concert got delayed so long that eventually it was decided to have the ensemble play inside the house, after dinner. More and more of the guests arrived, and there was a massive amount of alcohol flowing, including wine, beer, and hard alcohol as well. The buffet was huge with a combination of Moroccan and European dishes, including vegetables, tajines, fish, chicken, pasta (first time I’d had that in Morocco), breads, and fruit. It was all delicious. 

Eating and drinking before the first Yuval Ron performance in Morocco

Eating and drinking before the first Yuval Ron performance in Morocco

When it was finally time for the Yuval Ron Ensemble to start their performance, everybody was pretty loose, and instead of the performance being a deep, spiritual event as we had originally expected, it was an upbeat, lively performance with many of the guests dancing along with Maya, the dancer touring with the ensemble. Though it was different, it was great, and we all had a blast. After the performance, a DJ was blasting pop music and the partying continued late into the night. 

The Yuval Ron Ensemble performing in Marrakesh

The Yuval Ron Ensemble performing in Marrakesh

Dror and the Yuval Ron Ensemble performing in Marrakesh

Dror and the Yuval Ron Ensemble performing in Marrakesh

Maya dancing with the Yuval Ron Ensemble in Marrakesh

Maya dancing with the Yuval Ron Ensemble in Marrakesh

Dancing with the Yuval Ron Ensemble in Morocco

Dancing with the Yuval Ron Ensemble in Morocco

We finally all boarded the bus, and headed back to the hotel, after a really enjoyable evening.


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190 Responses to “Day 7: Touring Marrakesh, and the Night of the Ten Thousand Candles”

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