May Day Protest in Rabat

Posted in People, Work with tags on June 8, 2008 by Sarah Kate Kramer

Workers protest unemployment, wages, and government policies on International Labor Day. “Lhokuma maghrebia: zero!” (trans: the Moroccan government: Zero!)

The King’s Arrival in Fes

Posted in Street Sounds with tags on April 24, 2008 by Sarah Kate Kramer

Crowds are “gathered” by Moroccan Authorities to welcome the king during his drives through Fes. The king often visits the city during religious holidays, and this recording is from the days preceding the Maulid–the Prophet’s birthday. The crowd is composed of several different tradiional music groups, and children.

Umsiyah Quraniyah

Posted in Religion with tags on April 24, 2008 by Sarah Kate Kramer

This afternoon Quran recitation was organized by a group so that people could enjoyably listen to different Quran reciters. Each person recites for only a minutes, and between each reciter there are short talks about the relationship and place of the Quaran in the life of Muslims. This Umsiyah was held at a meeting hall used for lectures and meetings of religious leaders. It is on a busy street across from the Royal Mirage Hotel in Fes.

Dhar Mahraz Student Protest

Posted in People, Street Sounds with tags on April 23, 2008 by Sarah Kate Kramer

Night time protest of students from the Dhar Mahraz University in the Lidu neighborhood of Fes. The protesters want an increase in student stipends. They raise complaints about the level of luxury some of the administration is living in, while they struggle to subsist on their educational stipends.

Spinning thread, on different levels

Posted in Work with tags , on March 31, 2008 by Sarah Kate Kramer

40 percent of Morocco’s export comes from textile makers, and the industry operates across a huge spectrum of production levels, from needle and thread to modern factories and technology. Walking through the alleys of Fes you often see boys or men with hand-held motors spinning individual spools of thread that are attached at one end to an ancient wall:


Here is the sound of the motor spinning, with the bonus of a conversation with the spooler, explaining the purpose of his work (the thread gets sewn into caftans, jelabas…) and then the common Moroccan experience of having our dialogue interrupted by a third party, who feels the need to translate, and we talk about the spooler’s uncle who lives in America, and we end with the third party beginning to talk about his personal business, selling carpets.

The next level up is a shoelace and belt making factory located behind a nondescript door in the medina, where two rooms have been crammed with German machines furiously and loudly sewing. It’s a family owned and run business.


Rote learning: a chant

Posted in Daily Life, Music, Religion, Street Sounds with tags , on March 31, 2008 by Sarah Kate Kramer

Memorization of the Qur’an is an important and traditional way of learning the holy text, practicing Islam, and an act that is greatly celebrated upon completion. For better or worse, in Morocco, the technique of memorization has been extended into secular education, and students in the majority of Moroccan classrooms study a variety of subjects using the a rote memorization technique. Below you can hear elementary students singing as they learn.

Moroccan soccer (football) fans

Posted in People with tags , on March 20, 2008 by Sarah Kate Kramer

People are passionate about soccer in Morocco, they play in fields, on city streets, on the beach, with professional balls or with makeshift things like cans. Coffee shops have a game on the television most nights of the week, and all the chairs are faced towards the television. Taxi drivers deck out their cabs with emblems of Spanish teams–usually Real Madrid or FC Barcelona. People support the Moroccan national team, but admit that the best Moroccan players get swept off to play for Europe. There is also soccer on the local level, and young kids root for their cities and towns. Here is an audio clip of people drumming at a game in the south of Morocco, and a video of a swarm of kids from Fes riding back on the train after beating their perennial rival, Meknes.