The Andalusian Study and Research Centre (CERA) was established in Chefchaouen in 1986. It is housed in the old administrative and military residence of the city's founder together with the Museum of Ethnography that opened in 1989. On a number of occasions, CERA has invited the Conservatory of Music (that opened in 1975 in an old mansion of the Pasha) to give traditional and Andalusian music concerts called al-Ala in a garden of the famous citadel, Al-Quasaba.
But why this kind of music? Is it the absence or lack of knowledge of other kinds of music that explains it or is it because the people of Chefchaouen prefer the refinement of this noble music?
Although Chefchaouen is less significant than other historic cities, it sheltered a considerable number of refugee and Andalusian families who fled there after the fall of Grenada in 1492. It was founded in 1471 in the Wattaside era by a descendent of the Prophet Mohammed, the Sharif Alami Emir Moulay Ali Berrached.
These immigrants evidently brought their customs, way of life and culture with them and music, along with architecture and other decorative and performing arts, were part of this culture. The immigrants also tended to want to listen to the serious music, heavily laden with nostalgia, that reminded them of their homeland and eased the feeling of separation from their lost paradise.
European tourists consider Chefchaouen one of the marvels of Morocco with its picturesque character, houses with blue-painted doors surrounded by white-washed walls and roofs of Andalusian tile, as well as the luxurious gardens and many springs. All this gives this mysterious and charming city a most attractive southern European appearance.
Charles de Foucauld spent a night here in 1883 and left this enthusiastic description, This is a town, he said, full of life, richness and freshness.
The city has been a special source of inspiration, not only for historians and men of letters but also for painters, artists and photographers. It has also inspired traditional artists and craftsmen, both men and women - potters who make simple as well as decorated earthenware, spinners, weavers and leather workers (ghzel, draza, khiraza...) as well as iron workers, wood carvers (haddada, etc.) and contemporary craftspeople who use machines to produce modern fabric and embroidery.
Moroccan oral tradition specialist