'For all their religious orthodoxy and outward austerity, the people of Fez are not ashamed to be hedonists. They love the sound of the fountain splashing in the courtyard; on the coals of their braziers they sprinkle sandalwood and benzoin; they have a passion for sitting on a high spot of ground at twilight and watching the slow change of light, color and form in the landscape. Outside the ramparts are innumerable orchards, delightful little wildernesses of canebrake, where olive and fig trees abound. It is the custom of families to be out there on a late afternoon with their rugs, braziers and tea equipment. One discovers groups of such picnickers in the most secluded corners of the countryside, particularly on the northern slopes above the valley. Not long ago on one of my walks I came across a family spread out in the long grass. They were sitting quietly on their reed mats, but something in their collective attitude made me stop and observe them more closely. Then I saw that surrounding them at a radius of perhaps a hundred feet was a circle of bird cages, each supported by a stake driven into the ground. There were birds in all the cages and they were singing. The entire family sat there happily, listening. As urbanites in other places carry along their radios, they had brought along their birds with them from the town, purely for entertainment' - Paul Bowles writing in 1984Soundtrack for this post is provided by Greek songbirds Angélique Ionatos and Katerina Fotinaki, seen above, with a delicious programme of duets with guitar titled Like A Garden At Night. Yet another outstanding album from French label Accords Croisés, the record company that refreshes the parts other labels cannot reach. Particularly noteworthy on the new disc are two tracks by Greek composer Manos Hadjidakis. Despite composing the Academy Award winning score for the 1960 film Never on Sunday Hadjidakis is not well known outside his native Greece, even though he lived in exile in the US for six years during the Greek military dictatorship. He was a close friend of Nino Rota, Nicolas Piovani and Astor Piazzola and promoted their music in Greece. More on musicians' resistance to the Greek military junta here while Paul Bowles records Jewish music in Morocco here.
The Paul Bowles quote comes from his journals and is published in Travels: Collected Writings 1950-93 which was borrowed from Norwich library. Like a Garden at Night, which comes with an excellent accompanying DVD, was bought at retail. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk Also on Facebook and Twitter.