Gnaoua, African rhythms and jazz in ...Essaouira...
RABAT - Jazz and African rhythms back to the dawn of time will be once again in honour from 25 to 28 June in ...Essaouira... (south) at the 12th edition of Gnawa and World Music Festival.
- Each year at the same time, the former Mogador takes the air of New Orleans with this amazing African musical rendezvous, which brings together traditional and modern artists in a unique blend.
Several tens of thousands of spectators attend each evening concerts, some of which are free, held in different places in the “city of winds”, this port city that was fortified over the centuries a crossroads of trade in gold, spices and slaves.
Crossroads of several civilizations, ‘Essaouira’ has in its history hosted alternately Roman colonies, Portuguese, Spanish and French.
This year's festival, which was attended by 400,000 people in 2008 - called the “pointure” as the king of Rai, the Algerian Khaled, living legend and ambassador for the “world music”, the Malian cherry BBAN Koné, the American Donald Harrison and his band Congo Nation or the Brazilian percussion group Afoxé Loni.
They will perform alongside (and sometimes simultaneously, on Merger which Essaouira now has the secret) of Maalem (masters) gnaoua these mystical African troubadours brotherhood of musicians, healers, future tellers and therapists.
A time threatened with extinction, gnaoua art is now considered cultural heritage to be preserved at all costs. This musical genre perpetuated by descendants of black slaves “gnaoua” means “Guinea”, in Arabic, combines African rhythms and cults of the saints of Islam.
The Gnaoua use original instruments as ud (a kind of lute) and especially the guembri, consisting of a handle round goes into a sounding board made with camel skin. The three strings of the instrument, originally gut, are increasingly replaced by wire nylon fishing.
“Today, Gnaoua are recognized as artists in their own stresses Neila Tazi, founder and director of the festival. They have inspired a new generation of musicians. It is a treasure to preserve.”
Some of the biggest names in music Gnaoua as Mahmoud Guinea, a grand-son of a slave who plays like Jimi Hendrix, Hamid El Kasri and Mustapha Babkou are expected this year. In total, twenty Moroccan Maalems occur, according to the organizers of the festival.
Ennaharonline/ M. O.