Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Concert in Fez - Songs from NYC


On Wednesday April 30 at 8.15 PM is a performance with an impressive line up of talented American musicians. ABANDA is comprised of songwriters Amanda Homi and Jake Holmes, along with multi instrumentalist Gary Schreiner and percussionist Houcine Ouahban.
Amanda and Jake performed last year in Agadir for a cross cultural concert sponsored by the American Language Center and look forward to their return visit to Morocco. They perform their own songs along with classic cover tunes representing the various styles of American music.

Jake Holmes is a noted songwriter and lyricist. In the early eighties, Harry Belafonte sent Jake to Johanasburg to work with South African musicians on songs for his album “Paradise in Gazenculu”. It was there Jake fell in love with world music and it has been an obsession ever since.

His music has been performed by such artists as Lena Horne, Harry Belafonte, the Four Seasons, Frank Sinatra and Led Zeppelin. His musical "Sidewalking" was produced by the Manhattan Theatre Club and earned a Drama Desk Award nomination.

Jake is internationally recognized for his impact on the world of advertising, and is the only advertising writer to be inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame. His credits include "Be All That You Can Be" (U.S. Army), "I'm A Pepper" (Dr. Pepper), and Gillette's "The Best a Man Can Get."

Jake has previously recorded five albums of his own and has completed his sixth solo effort "Dangerous Times". He has performed at major concert venues throughout Europe, Canada and the United States, including Carnegie Hall. To sample some of his music, CLICK HERE. 

Amanda Homi is a singer, songwriter and percussionist with a deep and genuine affinity for music from around the globe. Born in London of English and Indian descent she is based in New York. She sings in several languages and has studied dance and percussion in Brazil and Senegal, sung Rembetika in Greece, Gypsy Flamenco in Spain, and written and recorded Reggae in Jamaica. She has two solo albums. "Drumgirls" and "Till i Reach Bombay" which was released this winter to critical acclaim. Her first video of the title track can be viewed HERE. 


Amanda has recorded, performed and toured with a diverse selection of Artists including Ray LaMontagne, Jackson Browne, Jane Siberry, Grover Washington, Maxwell, Mavis Staples Pete Seeger and They Might be Giants. To see more about her, CLICK HERE. 

She co produced and hosted a documentary about Latin Grammy lifetime achievement recipient, Toto La Momposina from Colombia and has written and sung on numerous ad campaigns TV themes and film scores.

Gary Schreiner is a multi instrumentalist and Emmy Award-winning composer and producer. He has scored hundreds of TV commercials and contributed music to countless TV shows and movies as well as having performed both onstage and recorded with, and produced a multitude of artists.

He recently was a featured guest artist at Sting's benefit concert for the Rainforest Fund, playing the chromatic harmonica with Rosanne Cash, then shared the stage with Elton John for a duet of “Moon River" in front of a full orchestra.

He has worked with diverse artists such as Elton John, Rosanne Cash, Joan Osborne, Patti LaBelle, Pedrito Martinez, Yoko Ono, Pheobe Snow, Marvin Hamlisch, Run-DMC, Lucy Kaplansky, Carly Simon, Ben Taylor, Blue Man Group, John Pizzarelli, Julio Fernandez (Spiro Gyra), Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Kermit the Frog, and World Champion figure skater Randy Gardner.

Most recently he has been producing and arranging Rick Moranis' soon to be released album "My Mother's Brisket & Other Love Songs" (release date June 2013). To see more about Gary, CLICK HERE. 

When: Wednesday April 30 at 8.15
Where: ALIF villa residence 28 Rue Mohammed Diouri, across the road from the main ALC building (ask the security guards to direct you)
Cost: Free

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Lecture on Urban Development Monday April 21

“Towns without Shantytowns: A Moroccan Program between Desire and Reality” 
Lecture by Naima Lahbil, author of La Liste


Naima Lahbil pubilshed her first novel, La Liste, last year. In French and set in Casablanca, it is inspired by the tensions between urban development and how it affects those at the lower end of the social scale.

Naima has a strong interest in the changing face of urban Morocco, and used La Liste to explore issues surrounding the pace of change and what it means for those affected. She is Professor of Economics at the Faculty of Law, Economics and Social Sciences in Fez and has published several articles on the medina of Fez.

When: Monday April 21 at 6.15 PM
Where: ALIF Annex Auditorium
22 Rue Mohamed Diouri, Ville Nouvelle
(across the road from the American Language Center. Ask the security guards for directions.)



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Moroccan News Briefs #114


Marines land in Morocco to demonstrate crisis responsibility capability

In today's security environment, the ability to quickly place military personnel on a location anywhere on the globe is at a premium. In order to stay ready for that task, the U.S. Marines of Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force conducted a training mission in Tifnit, Morocco, in April 2014.


Their mission was executed in conjunction with African Lion 14, a combined-joint exercise between the Kingdom of Morocco and the U.S. that involves approximately 150 soldiers of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces, 350 U.S. service members and additional military personnel from European and African partner nations.

The Marines flew approximately 500 nautical miles in MV-22B tiltrotor Ospreys from Moron Air Base, Spain, to their landing zone in Tifnit. Once they arrived, a platoon of Marines from Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, which is the ground combat element for SP-MAGTF Crisis Response, quickly established security of the area.

"Our task was to provide assault support for the tactical insertion of the platoon from the GCE into a simulated U.S. compound in Morocco in order to safeguard U.S. citizens and government property," said Capt. Kyle Stuart, the flight lead for the African Lion 14 mission.

The Crisis Response's flight and insert also demonstrated the rapid-response capability to multinational observers from 14 different countries during the "Observer Program" of African Lion 14. The countries included: Mauritania, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, Germany, Spain, Senegal, Poland, Turkey, Italy and France.


Opera Opens in Rabat

The premiere of "Don Giovanni" in Morocco was held Saturday, April 12 at the National Theatre Mohammed V in Rabat. The premiere of the work was part of the project "Come to the opera!" dedicated exclusively to young elementary school and college students.



It was performed for the first time in 1787 under the direction of the composer himself at the Theatre of the Estates Prague where it met with huge success . It took 227 years to arrive in Morocco but as the audience agreed it was "better late than never!"

The Philharmonic Orchestra of Morocco (OPM) has previously presented eleven operas and under the baton of Benedict Girault, they showed their mastery of the style.

The staging of the colorful and smart "dramma giocoso" was directed by Jean-Marc Biskup with 20 singers,  8 soloists and 68 musicians. A teleprompter was installed to translate texts in French, in order to follow the plot. The production was considered risky for a first in Morocco, but the singers, the orchestra and sets provided 3 hours of "pure happiness."


The new Fez airport terminal to to open in September

The announcement of the commissioning date for the new Fez-Sais terminal was made this week after a visit  to the site by the Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Logistics , Aziz Rabbah and a parliamentary delegation.


According to the CEO of the Airport Corporation (ONDA) Mohamed Zouhair El Oufir , the new terminal ..."tends to dynamics that accompany the tourist needs in the Fès- Boulemane region and accomplishes the strategic objectives of Vision 2020."

Built on an area of ​​17,000 m2, the new terminal is part of a major airport expansion project whose total cost amounts to 479 million dirhams. Eventually, the airport will increase its capacity welcome 2.5 million passengers each year as against 500,000 currently . The work is funded by the National Office of Airports (ONDA )and the African Development Bank.


Airshow in Marrakech - April 23 to 26

Under the patronage of King Mohammed VI, the fourth edition of the International Exhibition of Aerospace Industries “Marrakech Airshow 2014″ will take place from April 23 to 26 at the Royal Air Force military base in Marrakech.



“The fourth Marrakech Airshow will be hosting once more, African and Mediterranean civil and military delegations as well as senior corporate executives in order to confederate Marrakech Airshow’s exchange platform and consolidate the position of Morocco within the development of the African aerospace industry,” according to the Marrakech AirShow website.



The Marrakech Air Show, an International Aerospace Exhibition and Conference, is a gateway for better communication and greater opportunity for businesses working within the field of aerospace.

More than 50 official delegations will attend the 2014 Marrakech Airshow.

According to a statement from a French industrialist, published on Eturbonews, “Dassault Aviation will present its large cabin, long range Falcon 7X at the fourth Marrakech Air Show.” It will be Dassault’s second appearance at the show, which bills itself as the foremost trade show in the African region.


The flagship Falcon 7X, the first business jet equipped with digital flight controls, has a range of 5,950 nautical miles and can comfortably fly from Marrakech to Beijing, Los Angeles or Cape Town non-stop.

In related news the French manufacturer of small aircraft LH Aviation is preparing to open a new facility in Morocco and plans to produce the first 100% made in Morocco plane.

Soon to be constructed in Morocco

The Moroccan facility will be producing initially around 80 aircraft per year and may double the number afterwards.


Morocco to crack down on informal importing

Every day between 150 and 200 vans driven by Moroccans living abroad (MRE) cross into Morocco. The goods they carry are intended for local markets and until now checks on goods and payment of customs duty has been haphazard.


Now the customs rules will change. From May 1st MRE carrying goods will be registered in a commercial register  after a declaration to the Customs service. Thorough searches of vehicles suspected of carry illegal goods will now take place.

All merchandise will then be the subject of a detailed statement and all items will be included on an invoice for indicating the type and quantity, weight and value. Customs will then determine the amount of taxes and import duties payable.

The changes were originally to take effect on January 1 but postponed to the beginning of the summer season when the flow of travelers and tourists as well as MRE reaches the peak.

According to the Department of Customs and Indirect Taxes ( SDII ), about 150 vans full of all kinds of goods cross borders every day to supply the market local. The same source has always decried the "bad quality" of some of these goods.

The Department of Customs and Indirect Taxes (SDII)  say that Moroccans abroad are  "engaging in an activity that competes unfairly with both foreign trade, local industry and international transport companies and it is understood that many MRE offer transport for hire or reward, because loads often belong to third persons."

To avoid unpleasant surprises for MRE that land in ports of the kingdom, Customs began an information campaign through diplomatic missions to educate Moroccans abroad. For some of them in Europe, risking the import of goods in personal vehicles is a result of Moroccans in Spain and Italy being very affected by unemployment because of the economic crisis .


Brilliant Fez Surgeons reattach man's penis

A team of Moroccan surgeons managed to reattach a penis on a 35 year old male victim of a violent assault. After 6 hours of operation, the man was able to retain his penis. The news was released in a study published April 9 in the Journal of Medical Case Reports.



The man was violently assaulted by a stranger, with a razor blade cut to his body 3 cm from the pubis. By "luck" the amputation was not complete and after being admitted to the emergency department he was subjected to an operation that lasted six hours, during which members of Urology, University Hospital, Fes were able to reseal the organ.

Having lost a lot of blood and the operation itself causing heavy bleeding, the patient received a blood transfusion. A temporary plastic restraint was placed at the base of the penis in order to reduce bleeding.

Doctors say that "if amputation of the penis is very rare, the success of such an operation is even more so and in this case the appearance and function of the penis have been restored."

The medical team who carried out the intervention welcomed the success, and the patient was able to gradually regain normal use of his penis. "The appearance and function of the penis have been restored," say the doctors. In particular, they noted the absence of tight urethra.

And erectile function and sensitivity are now considered normal for this patient.

No microsurgery was undertaken to reconnect each blood vessels. "Our case study allows us to demonstrate that even without restoration of blood vessels, good postoperative results can be achieved," said the doctors.


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