Published On: Wed, May 15th, 2013

Extinction Threatens Traditional Musical Instruments Industry And Folk Groups in Morocco

By Mohammed Amine Qasserras

Morocco News Tribune

Kenitra, Morocco| Recent study made by the Foundation of Marrakech Festivals revealed in a meeting with the press the danger which threatens the extinction of folk arts in Morocco, which includes the history of musical traditions, folk dancing and a variety of Morocco songs along with their different dialects and traditions.

The meeting came as a preparation for the Fiftieth Session of the National Festival of Folk Arst which the city of Marrakech will host next summer, as well as to announce that this festival has joined the European Forum of Music Festivals of the world.

Ibrahim Alemzend, the festival’s technical staff and an expert at popular music, said in a statement to the press that ‘the Moroccan folk art is facing now the risk of extinction and the succession is no longer guaranteed and such art is for sure moving towards death. “

Alemzend continued talking about the aspects extinction, stressing on the absence of women that becomes clearly noticeable within the folk art groups and this, in his view, is due to the coming of conservative values from the city to the village, the origin of those arts, which was much open to those arts.

The expert added that musical instruments makers are in continuous extinction all over the country and only one maker of Rabab Banjo-like instrument was left even though such craft-ship is an ancient heritage since centuries.

He also pointed out that the vacuum caused by the extinction flute machine makers pushes musicians to have Turkish and Omani -made instruments.

The spokesman noted that only three makers were left for other machines, highlighting that the values of the culture of globalization has threatened this culture and the arts which are not supported and they are included within the immaterial heritage which resisted loss thanks to the values of respect, coexistence and modernity that such arts embrace, stressing at the same time that “we Moroccans and citizens of the world will lose everything if such culture disappeared.

In the same context, Alachak, the head of Marrakech Festivals Foundation, said in a statement to the press” The manifestation of the effects of globalization and urbanization brought some significant changes to Moroccan society and weakened to some extent folk arts progress.

Karim sees the necessity of educating citizens and decision-makers of the threats which face this heritage as well as working together to enhance the level of these arts that shape Morocco culture and consider it a priority for the country’s identity.

He also added this art holds a great opportunity to enhance economic and social development through cultural tourism, explaining that his organization has developed a project which will work in the long term to maintain these arts, including the founding of a Folk Art city.

He explained that the city will include a conference center, theater, training and recording studios, art complex, documentation center, archive, media library, hotel, and digitally museum or even a museum dedicated to fashion and machinery.

Some fans of this traditional art who attended the conference denied the extinction which threatens such arts and at the same time they insisted on a serious interference from the government to protect and save what they called ‘Morocco heritage’ from loss and extinction.