Morocco's Marrakesh is music to the ears

24th Dec 2013

It isn't the capital of Morocco (that's Rabat).

Neither is it the north African country's largest metropolis (that's Casablanca).

But few Moroccan destinations offer visitors on city breaks more cultural sites and unique entertainment than Marrakesh

The so-called "Red City" is about to be thrust even further into the spotlight now King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, has thrown his support behind a major tourism drive.

The hotspot offers holidaymakers many cultural cornerstones to experience.

Its distinctive, beguiling architecture has always appealed to the aesthetic traveller, while it also fosters a music scene that visitors passively imbibe.

Holidaymakers won't see famous bands making their way through an international tour here.

Nor should they expect to find bars or venues dedicated to a single music genre.

Instead, their ears will probably be swayed by sounds that are uniquely Moroccan on the city streets and in restaurants.

The sonic textures of Berber music from one of the leading ethnic groups in Morocco and Chaabi, the popular local folk music monopolises the streets.

To find CD stalls, tourists should head for Jmaa el Fna Square, where most recorded Moroccan music is sold.

The square proudly showcases the cream of Moroccan music and culture.

A UNESCO-listed heritage site, the bustling square is awash with Arabic storytellers, stall sellers, musicians and snake charmers.

While the majority of the square's performers come out at night, visitors may find some braving the Moroccan sun.

No trip to Marrakesh is complete without a visit to Palais Chahramane. This offers holidaymakers a snapshot of Moroccan food and music with traditional culture heightened to give the experience an authentic magnetism.

Here, visitors are usually welcomed by the resident Atlas Berber band.

If not, the Andalusian or Gnaoua quartet will probably give a table-side rendition as gastronomes indulge in a six-course meal.

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