sat 18/09/2021

Morocco

Our Kind of Traitor

John Le Carré made it quite clear what he thinks of the new world order in The Night Manager. All together now: a nexus of corrupt money and sinister establishment interests make for cynical realpolitik. It’s a persuasive weltanschauung that plays...

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Le Corsaire, English National Ballet, Coliseum

It’s being sold as the ideal ballet for first-timers, but I would blush to introduce even my neighbour’s cat to this Carry On Up the Harem hokum. Worse, its silliness verges on offensive. When, in Rudolph Nureyev’s 1990s production of La Bayadère...

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CD: Benjamin Taubkin - Al Qantara - The Bridge

Geoff Dyer’s book on jazz But Beautiful predicted the future of jazz would come from places like North Africa and this is a perfect example. Southern Morocco has become a hothouse of cultural fusion, partly due the number of foreign musicians...

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10 Questions for Bassist Marcus Miller

This year’s edition of the Gnawa Festival in the medina of the beautiful coastal town of Essaouira featured two spectacular fusions – between Bessekou Kouyate with Hamid El Kasri on the closing Sunday night, and on Saturday night – in the early...

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theartsdesk in Fes: A world music festival that's a beacon of tolerance

You are or maybe wish you were at Glastonbury this weekend. Not me. I last went six years ago and it’s just too big for me. And you need about four different passes to get backstage should you have a good or a bad reason to get there. Too...

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theartsdesk at the Marrakech Biennale: "Where Are We Now?"

Whether fingerprint or labyrinth, the swirly logo for Marrakech Biennale 5 feels apt. The festival has left its mark upon the city. It questions Moroccan notions of identity. And, going by the tagline, “Where are we now?” it reflects the ease with...

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'The Rolling Stones of Morocco' - Nass El Ghiwane's music of protest

Fly into Morocco on Royal Air Maroc, and as in-flight entertainment on the overhead screens you’re treated to Charlie Chaplin shorts from the 1910s, still sharp as a tack, the little guy goosing authority, the law, the rich, the powerful. The Little...

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theartsdesk in Fes: Patti Smith and the Sufis

“The boy looked at Johnny – he was surrounded by white and blue tiles, in the medina.” Patti Smith was improvising on her classic album Horses in her first, compelling, gig in Morocco. Smith has a history of Moroccan connections: she knew the...

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theartsdesk in Fes: Bjork among the Gnawas

Wandering through the winding alleyways of the Medina, there was Bjork dressed in a dazzling blue dress and hat and listening to a Gnawa group with its dull, thudding bass and metal castanets. She was here to perform at the Fes Festival of Sacred...

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The Source

Aridity and comedy are not words you expect to read, or write, in the same sentence. Yet they capture some of the many attractions of Radu Mihaileanu’s new film The Source. The director came to considerable public attention two years ago with his...

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DVD: Hanna

It’s pretty damn cold inside the Arctic Circle, but Eric Bana’s former CIA agent Erik Heller doesn’t notice. Striding out of his wilderness cabin into metres-deep snow, he’s fine in a business suit. Demanding a catering-sized suspension of disbelief...

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theartsdesk in Fes: The Festival and the Moroccan Spring

Strange portents – the weather is always dry and baking hot this time of year in Fes. This time it was like winter, with lashing rain and thunder for the first few days of the Fes Festival. But then things are strange in general here; events are...

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