A sacred Fès comes to Davis

One of the Anointed Jackson Sisters.

One of the Anointed Jackson Sisters.

Now I think I understand how some writers get into trouble for plagiarism.

I’m sitting here, trying desperately to come up with a witty lead that will prove to the world that I have not been possessed by the spirit of Joe Friday. After cutting and pasting some lyrics from “The Fez,” a 1976 song by Steely Dan, before realizing that it might be inappropriate because “fez” in this case was slang for a condom, and then writing some nonsense about how the Mel Gibson film The Passion of the Christ proves that now Americans will sit through anything, even if the language being spoken is Latin, Aramaic or Bush Texan, I even contemplated pasting in the press release and attaching my byline.

Not the most brilliant idea.

Enough of that. Here’s the story: The event in question is titled The Spirit of Fès, which is where that not-so-witty fez reference came from, and it is a touring version of the annual Fès Festival of World Sacred Music, which was launched in Fez, Morocco, in response to the 1991 Persian Gulf War. One of the 17 American cities on the tour is Davis; The Spirit of Fès will be staged there at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 19, in Jackson Hall at the Mondavi Center for the Arts at the University of California.

Performers include French vocalist Françoise Atlan (actually a Jewish Algerian expatriate); two seven-member vocal ensembles, Hadra des Femmes de Taroudant from Morocco and the Anointed Jackson Sisters from North Carolina; Ohioan percussionist Jamey Haddad; and Moroccan oud player Farid El Foulahi. Also, there will be two callers to prayer, one Muslim and the other Jewish: Yacoub Hussein and Gabriel Meyer, respectively.

The idea here is that peace is a universal aspiration and that, although expressions of the sacred come in many languages and vehicles, the divinity being expressed has the power and grace to touch everyone. And with the escalating levels of strife around the world, any event that brings voices from different traditions together on the same stage to search musically for a common spiritual thread is somewhat of a blessing. Don’t you agree?

Tickets are $24-$34 for adults and $12-$17 for students and children.