Journey to Morocco

Our musical tour of Morroco with the Yuval Ron Ensemble

Day 9: Touring Fes, and the Yuval Ron Ensemble Performance

Day nine had finally arrived. The big day where we would get to see the Yuval Ron Ensemble perform at the Sacred Music Festival. We started the day, as usual with breakfast at the hotel. Then we boarded our buses and headed to the medina in Fes (the old portion of the city). The first thing I noticed was that Fes is a huge city (over 1.3 million people), and seems to sprawl for miles around you.

The beautiful city of Fes

The beautiful city of Fes

Another view of Fes

Another view of Fes

When we got to the medina, we got off the bus, and entered the walled portion of the city. The labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways in Fes dwarfs what we saw in Marrakesh. Without a guide, it would be so easy to get lost in this city. There are no large landmarks to get your bearing, and only a small portion of the sky is visible from the ground as well.

Walking the streets of the medina in Fes

Walking the streets of the medina in Fes

Another view of the streets of the medina in Fes

Another view of the streets of the medina in Fes

The medina in Fes

The medina in Fes

Shopping in the medina in Fes

Shopping in the medina in Fes

Donkeys working in the medina in Fes

Donkeys working in the medina in Fes

Some kids playing video games in Fes

Some kids playing video games in Fes

Our guide first took us to a large rug dealer, where we got a nice presentation about the different styles and manufacturing techniques of Moroccan rugs. Of course that led up to them trying to sell us all rugs. Some of the tour members did buy some very nice rugs, but, I wasn’t interested, so I walked around the building (an old converted riad, or traditional Moroccan-style house with an interior garden) , and went up to the roof where I took some nice pictures of the surroundings.

The rug dealer we visited in Fes

The rug dealer we visited in Fes

Moroccan rugs in Fes

Moroccan rugs in Fes

Buying rugs in Fes

Buying rugs in Fes

Another picture of Fes

Another picture of Fes

View of Fes from the roof of the rug dealer we visited

View of Fes from the roof of the rug dealer we visited

After the rug-dealer, we walked around the city some more, looking at dozens (if not hundreds) of craftsmen in small shops, working on everything from metal, to wood, to fabrics. Fes is clearly a city where many Moroccan artisans perform their craft. We stopped along the way at the various shops, and got to experience more of the high-pressure price-haggling that is standard when buying things in the medina.

A craftsman in Fes

A craftsman in Fes

Another craftsman in Fes

Another craftsman in Fes

A metal worker in Fes

A metal worker in Fes

More crafts work in Fes

More crafts work in Fes

Fabric weaving in Fes

Fabric weaving in Fes

Next, we got to go take a look at the tannery. This is a colorful (and smelly) place to visit, with large colorful pools of dye, where Moroccan workers labor hard dying leathers and fabrics. Here are some pictures we took of the tannery.

A tannery in Fes

A tannery in Fes

A closer look at the vats at the tannery in Fes

A closer look at the vats at the tannery in Fes

Hard work at the tannery in Fes

Hard work at the tannery in Fes

Working in the tannery in Fes

Working in the tannery in Fes

We ate lunch at another converted riad. The food at this place was delicious, probably the best we’d had since arriving in Morocco). The salad they brought consisted of almost twenty small plates, laid out nicely in the center of the table, each containing a different, yummy item. I ordered a chicken and almond tagine, and enjoyed it very much.

Lunch in Fes

Lunch in Fes

After lunch, we headed to the museum to see the Yuval Ron Ensemble perform. The concert was being held outside in the garden area of the museum. The space was much smaller than the Bab Makina where we had seen the whirling dervishes performance the night before, but it was still a beautiful setting. The stage was setup below a large tree. There was a large carpeted area directly in front of the stage for people to sit on, and surrounding that, chairs for people who preferred not sitting on the ground.

Ilan watching the Yuval Ron Ensemble in Fes

Ilan watching the Yuval Ron Ensemble in Fes

I setup my tripod and camera in the back, by the sound board, in the press section. Nobody seemed to notice or care that I did not have a press credentials card around my neck.

There's me in the back shooting video at the performance

There's me in the back shooting video at the performance

The concert itself was magical. Yuval and his band members (and dancer, Maya), were all at their best, and the audience enjoyed the performance immensely. Here are some pictures and a sample video of the concert.

The Yuval Ron Ensemble performing in Fes

The Yuval Ron Ensemble performing in Fes

Smadar singing with the Yuval Ron Ensemble

Smadar singing with the Yuval Ron Ensemble

Yuval performing in Fes

Yuval performing in Fes

Dror performing with the Yuval Ron Ensemble in Fes

Dror performing with the Yuval Ron Ensemble in Fes

Yuval Ron Ensemble in Fes

Yuval Ron Ensemble in Fes

Maya dancing with the Yuval Ron Ensemble in Fes

Maya dancing with the Yuval Ron Ensemble in Fes

Another picture of Maya dancing with the Yuval Ron Ensemble in Fes

Another picture of Maya dancing with the Yuval Ron Ensemble in Fes

Smadar singing at the performance of the Yuval Ron Ensemble in Fes

Smadar singing at the performance of the Yuval Ron Ensemble in Fes

After the concert, we were all on a high as we walked around the museum garden area for awhile, discussed the highlights with each other, and eventually headed back to the bus to return to the hotel.

At the hotel, we rested for a while, some of us swam in the pool, or explored the hotel grounds some more. We sat for dinner together (more tagines). Dinner was followed by the arrival of a Sufi drumming ensemble that Hamid had arranged for us out on the hotel patio. They were loud and energetic, they brought extra drums for some of the tour members to play along with. The music went on late into the night.

The Sufi drummers at our hotel in Fes

The Sufi drummers at our hotel in Fes

Hamid drumming with the Sufis

Hamid drumming with the Sufis

Dror and Adi

Dror and Adi

Another long, but exciting day, the pinnacle of our tour.


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171 Responses to “Day 9: Touring Fes, and the Yuval Ron Ensemble Performance”

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