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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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India Continues Engaging With USA Over H-1B Passport Issue

India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

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As Trump proposes changes in H1-B visa, India continues to engage with US

India is continuing to engage with the US over the H-1B visa, largely availed of by Indian IT companies, after the Trump administration proposed changes to the programme, a senior official said on Thursday.

“It is a very important topic for us and that is the reason why we have time and again at various levels, we have taken up this matter with the US side,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to queries by journalists here.

Kumar said that most recently, the issue was raised during the first ever India-US 2+2 Ministerial Meeting held here last month that was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

On Wednesday, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to come out with its new proposal by January 2019.

India n Passport
It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages Flickr

The DHS said it was also proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation.

The move to end the rule could have an impact on more than 70,000 H-4 visa holders, who have work permits.

The H-4 visas are issued by the USCIS to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the holders of H-1B visa.

The DHS said it will propose to revise the definition of speciality occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B programme.

It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages, the DHS said.

Donald Trump, India
President Donald Trump speaks about immigration alongside family members affected by crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, at the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex, June 22, 2018, in Washington, VOA

In his remarks on Thursday, Kumar said that India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

Stating that there are certain bills which have been introduced, he, however, said that “it is important to note that none of these bills have been passed so far”.

“When we have engaged with the US, we have emphasised that our partnership which we have in the digital sphere have been mutually beneficial,” the spokesperson said.

Also Read: USA And Other Countries Pledge To Eradicate Illegal Wildlife Trade

“We have highlighted the role which has been played by the highly skilled Indian professionals who have actually contributed to the growth and development of the US economy,” he stated.

“And also they have helped the US to maintain a competitive edge in the world towards innovation and science and technology.” (IANS)