Sunday, June 3, 2007

On music and royalty

The International Sacred Music Festival began here in Fes on Friday, bringing with it hordes of European tourists and even some celebrity guests. On a morning shopping trip in the medina, I walked past a lovely woman surrounded by men in suits but thought nothing of it until I caught up to Amina. She was stopped dead in the street, still staring at the mini-procession - and informed me that we'd just passed Queen Rania of Jordan.

After a light lunch with a visiting Scarlett, we rejoined the others for an Iranian singer performing Rumi poetry, where the queen graced us once again with her presence. The music was meditative and the five accompanying musicians offered incredibly talented solos as well. Afterward, I got a blurry shot of the queen while a friend-of-a-friend with the group approached closer and returned to say that he'd shaken hands with Bono, whose presence next to Rania I'd completely overlooked.

We stopped for juice, then joined the crowd at a free community concert in a nearby square, watching parents and toddlers as much as the Moroccan singer with her Egyptian-MTV lighting effects up on stage. At 11, Scarlett and I ventured out one last time for sufi chant at yet another medina museum.

After two hours of steadily repetitive devotions (of which I followed at least a little in Arabic..."There is no god but God" is easy to pick out), I felt relaxed and refreshed. Following the alleyway to the taxi stand, I spotted a man in a bright violet shirt and sunglasses even in the dark of night. I paused a moment to be sure of my recognition and continued along, spotting a less-conspicuously-familiar face a few yards behind. Surely enough, both Sir Bono and his band-mate the Edge are wandering Fes listening to sacred music this week - I'll snap a photo if I run into them somewhere light.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

wow, sweet!! that's neat. the music sounds cool(er) though, you won't be getting that anywhere else. :)