We took a 5 hour flight from Los Angeles to NYC and hung out for 4 hours, then took an 8 hour flight to Casablanca, and drove for an hour to Rabat, the capital. Sound romantic? It is! Still, it is a long way for a gig. This is the Northwestern coast of Africa, a city on the coastline of the Atlantic, with Spain and the Mediterranean a stone’s throw to the North. Rabat is the capital of Morocco and is so modern and beautiful and contemporary as to make a Chicagoan feel at home.

The call to prayer happens 5 times a day and almost everyone responds. In the meantime, all the regular activities of the day precede and flow along with fewer church entanglements than Bloomington, Indiana. And I wish the 405 in LA (the main artery) was as smooth and well maintained. I was impressed, totally!
Everybody here looks like Joe Sample and Felicia Rashad, New Orleans Creole, beautiful people.

We opened the festival, but take a look at the coming attractions; Elton John, Sting, Julio Englesias, Carlos Santana, and two dozen other local and international artists. In its 9th year, this is brilliance of planning and organization par excellence! This makes a truly universal music festival for the local people, and most importantly sends the artists home with interactions and interconnections that will always recall where it happened.

We had a lively press conference the day before stage, with 35 or 40 people. Most questions were posed in French, with a translator… Smart, thoughtful questions that demonstrated not only their understanding of me as an artist, but of music and its hows and whys. We had fun, and Rim, our escort, was great and gracious. Thanks, Edgy!

Our performance was fun, but could have had more connection with the crowd. I think we were all caught off guard by the distance from the stage to the audience. Maybe it was real normal for them. In the end, they were well pleased and happy. And at the reception with Aziz, we all talked about returning next year. I would love that.

My sincerest compliments again to the City of Rabat and to the Festival Staff on a fabulous and well-organized festival of international and world rhythms.

Al and Band

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