Catalina Maria Johnson

International radio broadcaster, bilingual cultural journalist, music curator

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Report from Fez on Global Notes

Catalina Maria Johnson, host and producer of Beat Latino, takes us to the 20th Fes Festival of World Sacred Music, in a city historically the cultural and spiritual capital of Morocco. Fez is a legendary city which was once part of Al Andalus Kingdom which stretched into southern Spain. The festival’s theme this year was “Conference of Birds,” a 12th Century epic poem by Persian poet Farid Ud Din Attar that tells a fable about different birds coming together and undertaking a perilous journey to find the King of the Birds. At the end of their travels, trials, tribulations and adventures, all the birds find is a beautiful lake in which they see themselves reflected. This theme echoed throughout the festival. The music of the festival also reflected the theme, as artists from Bolivia to Mali, India to Uzbekistan, Ireland to Mauritania and more shared their song, often in one-time collaborations created especially for the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music.

Photo: Opening Ceremony, Conference of the Birds by Catalina María Johnson

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