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World Nomads Morocco Festival

French Institute:Alliance Française (FIAF), under the High Patronage of His Majesty wnm-iconKing Mohammed VI, presents World Nomads Morocco Festival, which runs April 30 - May 31, 2011 at FIAF, Florence Gould Hall, and other venues in New York City.

FIAF's annual World Nomads Festival celebrates 21st-century transculturalism through the arts while advancing critical thinking and dialogue among cultures. The integrated platform offers opportunities for an exchange of ideas and artistic expression among traditional and contemporary cultures.

This year the Festival celebrate the many facets of Morocco. It is initiated and conceived by FIAF and curated by Zeyba Rahman, Chief Curator, and Lili Chopra, FIAF's Artistic Director.

Morocco is recognized worldwide for its distinctive and layered cultural identity. The country's unique geographical location has made it a crossroad for ancient trade routes, and continues to contribute to its importance as a migratory highway for ideas and peoples.

World Nomads Morocco opens with an evening of Judeo-Arab Andalusian music performed by the acclaimed Orchestra of Fes, under the direction of eminent musician and conductor Mohamed Briouel. This rich musical tradition dates back to medieval Spain and is loved by Muslims and Jews alike, throughout the Arab world and in the Sephardic diaspora.

The concert will feature renowned Jewish vocalist Françoise Atlan, who is considered one of the most beautiful voices of this tradition.

The Keynote Talk is Essaouira and Fes: Sustaining Cultures – Key Moroccan cultural visionaries André Azoulay, Royal Advisor to His Majesty King Mohammed VI, and Faouzi Skali, a widely recognized cultural and intellectual force, come to FIAF for a special conversation moderated by renowned scholar, author and political theorwnm-OFesist Dr. Benjamin Barber.
Wed, May 11 at 7pm

The five tracks are:

  • Architecture & Installation
  • Cinema
  • Music
  • Talks
  • Visual Arts 

Architecture & Installation

Regenerating Morocco’s Architecture – Architect and historian Jean-Louis Cohen leads a panel discussion with architects Aziza Chaouni and Tarik Oualalou, examining current rehabilitation projects in Morocco within the context of the political and cultural patterns underlying the country's regeneration.
Mon, May 9 at 7pm

Untangling Threads: Soundwalk & Kantara CraftsSoundwalk and Kantara Crafts create an immersive audiovisual installation that will transport the viewer from the streets of New York to the vibrant world of Morocco. StreetFest at the Festival of Ideas for the New City, Sat, May 7, from 11am–7pm


CinémaTuesdays: Moroccan Cinéma
Tues, May 3–31


Brahim Fribgane & Ibrahim MaaloufBrahim Fribgane, a New York-based composer, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist with roots in Berber/Amazigh culture. Fribgane will draw specifically on Amazigh tradition for one of his signature, inventive performances. Sharing the bill with Fribgane is French-Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf, known for his own innovative combination of jazz and traditional Arabic music.
Thu, May 5 at 8:30pm

Soultana – The popular rapper from Rabat, making her New York debut, is a pioneer of Morocco’s booming hip-hop scene. She received the prestigious Key Award from the Mawazine Festival in 2008 as a member of Morocco’s first female rap group, Tigresse Flow. Now performing solo, she is particularly known for rapping about women’s issues and the challenges faced by her generation.
Fri, May 6 at 9:30pm

Soundwalk: The Passenger – An international collective known for producing cutting-edge audio works that mix fiction with reality, debuts a specially-commissioned piece named The Passenger, an immersive audio-visual installation/live concert.
Mon, May 9 at 8:30pm

Master Gnaoua Musicians in Concert – Morocco’s leading Gnaoua masters, representing the major Gnaoua centers of Essaouira and Marrakech, present an unprecedented performance of tnwm-hassanhis entrancing and mystical music. Originating in sub-Saharan Africa, the music serves as both a prayer and a celebration of life with strong, distinctive rhythmic beats and acrobatic dancing.

The master musicians will be accompanied by Hassan Hakmoun, a Moroccan-American Gnaoua musician and innovative performing artist who brings contemporary elements from funk, hip-hop, and reggae.
Sat, May 21 at 8pm

Marouan Benabdallah in Concert – Part of the new generation of emerging Moroccan pianists, Benabdallah makes his U.S. debut at Carnegie Hall. His international career began in 2003 following his success at the Hungarian Radio Piano Competition and his winning the Andorra Grand Prize.
Thu, May 26 at 8pm


Abdellah Taïa – The young, Paris-based Moroccan writer and intellectual figure is one of the first openly gay writers in the contemporary Arab world. Taïa is a vigorous defender of tolerance, cultural and civic openness, democracy, and human rights, and co-authored Maroc 1900–1960 (Actes Sud) with Frédéric Mitterrand. In conversation with acclaimed American author Dale Peck.
Sun, May 1 at 3pmnwm-Senses

Mahi Binebine – A conversation with a titan of Moroccan letters, as prominent novelist and artist Mahi Binebine talks with Anderson Tepper about the value of Moroccan cultural heritage, identity, empowerment and women.
Sun, May 1 at 5pm

Women, Artists in Morocco – Leading contemporary Moroccan women artists, all Festival participants, come together for a lunchtime discussion moderated by Morocco's Ambassador-at-Large, Assia Bensalah Alaoui, to share stories and perspectives about their life and art. Panelists are Visual artists Amina Agueznay, Safaa Erruas, Najia Mehadji, rapper Soultana, and vocalist Françoise Atlan
Monday, May 2 at 12:30pm

Visual Arts 

Senses and Essence:
Amina Agueznay, Safaa Erruas, and Najia Mehadji
Thu, May 5–Sat, May 28

For more information, go to

French Institute: Alliance Française
FIAF Gallery
22 East 60th Street
New York City
212 355 6100

Florence Gould Hall
55 East 59th Street
New York City

Plus other venues around Manhattan

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