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Fez music fest in Morocco pays homage to India

The festival features various Indian musical styles and numerous renowned artists' names

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Fez (Morocco), May 11 :The quaint Moroccan city of Fez, one of the world’s oldest cities, came alive to the sounds of India as dozens of Indian artists performed across the city as part of the 22nd edition of the Fez Festival of World Sacred Music 2016, which has India as a guest of honour this year.

The event saw Indian artists hosting wonderful shows ranging from playing music, singing and dancing on Monday evening at different locations in Morocco’s second largest city.

Various shows were performed at locations such as Boujeloud Cinema, Dar Adiel and the Prefecture Hall as well as Janan Sabil Gardens.

The festival features various Indian musical styles and numerous renowned artists’ names.

The opening show was a Hindustani classical music performance “Raga” and the artists came from Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, Jodhpur and Jaipur, to showcase their talent for the first time in Morocco.

The Fez concert featured a performance by a group of young children from Rajasthan whose stories sounded like a movie story.

The festival management invited the Rajasthani artists to perform in Fez concerts, to support them and pay tribute to their art. The management has produced a short film about their lives.

Alain Wieber, artistic director of the festival, said that “The film depicts their present and past lives, their reality, and the villages from where they came, and their music.” He noted that “The musical genre they perform was on the verge of extinction, if they had not made any efforts to keep it alive.”

The film relates the story of three children who were born in a Rajasthan village and inherited their art from their families. It is the story of the three children whose lives revolved around music since they were born. So they did not go to school and did not learn anything, but remained clinging to one goal — which is to keep up their music and to deliver it to the largest possible audience.

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According to the filmmaker: “The goal of the film is to show the origin of the music they play and how it evolved.” He added: “Despite all circumstances, they continue to sing, day and night, with their fathers, passing on their art from one generation to another.”

She explained that “featuring this kind of music in Fez festival would create new tastes among the young audience.”

Indian artists recognized worldwide, such as Parvathy Baul, Rageshri Das from Benares or the dual Shashank Subramaniam and Rakesh Chaurasia, flute musicians from Chennai and Mumbai, held a series of performances, in addition to the show of surbahar and sitar player, Irshad Khan.

Moroccans are very fond of Indian music, culture and cinema. In fact, the country celebrated 100 years of Hindi cinema at the 12th Marrakech International Film Festival in November 2012, hosting Bollywood biggies like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and other Indian stars. The Marrakech festival honour came much before Bollywood held its own event to honour Hindi cinema.

Fez, with a population of 1.1 million, is one of the oldest cities in Morocco, founded in 808 AD. (IANS)

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Cepheid to Establish Manufacturing Unit for TB Diagnostics in India

Rifampicin is a drug commonly used in treating TB bacteria in first line of treatment

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The GeneXpert Edge is developed specifically for near-patient testing, to help support a one visit test-and-treat approach.
The GeneXpert Edge is developed specifically for near-patient testing, to help support a one visit test-and-treat approach. (IANS)

Expanding its footprint in India, US-based molecular diagnostics company Cepheid Inc on Thursday announced its plans to establish a manufacturing unit in the country to improve Tuberculosis (TB) diagnostics.

Cepheid’s GeneXpert MTB/RIF test is a closed-cartridge-based system that is easy to operate by minimally trained staff and gives results in approximately two hours, speeding the conventional backlog that used to exist in traditional diagnostic methods.

The new manufacturing unit would produce MTB/RIF test cartridges, contribute to the government’s “Make in India” initiative and thus bringing the company’s global expertise in TB diagnostics to India, the company said in a statement.

As part of the plan, Cepheid also unveiled its latest portable, easy-to-use TB-testing system — the GeneXpert Edge — which is expected to be available in India later this year, the company said.

The GeneXpert Edge is developed specifically for near-patient testing, to help support a one visit test-and-treat approach.

“Cepheid recognises the need for technological advancement and is committed to contributing significantly to India’s goal of TB eradication,” said Peter Farrell, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Commercial Operations, Cepheid.

Cepheid's Xpert MTB/RIF test has the potential to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis(MTB)
Cepheid’s Xpert MTB/RIF test has the potential to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis(MTB).

“We are hopeful that GeneXpert Edge will help eliminate delays in TB diagnostics by providing definitive results within hours and facilitating fast and easy last-mile delivery even in the remote villages of India,” he added.

India has nearly one-fourth of the global TB patients and an estimated 4.8 lakh lives are lost every year due to delayed diagnosis and inadequate treatment and there are above 2.5 million new cases of TB every year. The country aims to eradicate TB by 2025.

Approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2010, more than 1,200 Cepheid’s GeneXpert Systems have been installed in the last two years at various Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) sites in the country and more than 2.5 million cartridges were supplied last year at various centres of Central TB Division (CTD).

Also Read: Fruit Bats Identified As Source Of Nipah Virus Outbreak in Kerala

Cepheid’s Xpert MTB/RIF test has the potential to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis(MTB) and rifampicin-resistance mutations, which are markers for MDR-TB strains in under two hours.

Rifampicin is a drug commonly used in treating TB bacteria in first line of treatment.

Xpert MTB/RIF tests also have excellent negative predictive value, which allows clinicians to manage TB-negative patients more effectively to prevent unnecessary and costly respiratory isolations. (IANS)