Gnawa Music, Culture, and People

The ancestral memory (turath) of the displaced and enslaved people that were brought to Morocco is preserved mainly in their songs and dances.
For the Gnawa, the spirit world is inhabited by ancestral spirits who, among other spiritual creatures, can be used for either good or evil purposes. The gnawa have modernized their style. With these recent developments and their appeal to tourists, the Moroccan government in 1997 established The Gnawa and World Music Festival in Essaouira. This blog will be a representation of this musical style, the gnawa peoples themselves, and the places in which they live and have lived.

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Can we say  I’m onto Algerian/ Gnawi music? 


Gnawa Music Concert (Tunis, Tunisia)


Lupita Nyong’o lands her first ever Vogue magazine cover.

Whilst not a throwback post, this is still history in the making. She’s won multiple awards, is the new face of beauty brand Lancome, has acquired the rights to produce Chimamanda Adichie’s ‘Americanah’, bringing it to celluloid, is starring in the latest Star Wars flick and now, she’s on the cover of American Vogue.

If you, like us, follow her on instagram you probably noticed that she was recently in Morocco. Whilst we know she was taking a vacation, we also now know that Nyong’o was hard at work shooting for her spread in Vogue, photographed by Mikael Jansson.

Don’t quote us on this but we think she’s the first ever Kenyan actress to land this cover and one of the few African women to do so, aside from Iman and Alek Wek.

Read about her interview with Vogue, to appear in the July issue.

She was in Morocco, okay?

Gnawa meets Amazigh rhythm!

Maalem el Kasri at Festival Jawhara Ben Jdid.


Dahka Band - Hal Denya (Official World Music Video)



I mean, naaaam!

People called rock & roll ‘African music.’ They called it ‘voodoo music.’ They said that it would drive the kids insane. They said that it was just a flash in the pan - the same thing that they always used to say about hip-hop.

LITTLE RICHARD (via blackgirlsrpretty2)

Would ya look at that…for folks who still don’t know who created certain genres of music, here you have it. Now, lets not let hip hop go the same route in the next few decades. After all, those who don’t know history are bound to repeat it.

(via ai-yo)

Look more into the history of voodoo and rock…it’s pretty loose. Fun fact: vodun is a worldview/way of life with origins in West African nations. Contrary to ‘blood sacrifice’ and ‘dark magic’, it really centers around: the individual’s belief in a spirit realm, respect for said realm, and accessing a transcendent state through music, ritual and traditional shamanic methods.

The music throughout its diaspora can be distinguished by strong percussive rhythms, trance-induced call and response, a bass instrument as backbone, and/or interplaying claps. What is denoted as voodoo constitutes a complex ethnospiritual system that’s so intact there are enclaves on several continents (from Gnawa and Candomblé, to Santeria, Capoeira rodas, modern Black music).

Yes, ROCK, hip-hop, R&B, soul—many of the genres we listen to now. Blues is vodun’s most direct descendant. Appropriation has been so thorough most folks don’t know where or how these even came to be. African musical modes are something else. Guess that’s why white folks stay snatching them. Looking at you, Vampire Weekend/99% of Afropop. Here’s to y’all, white guys in blues bands. Do you know the history of your tunes? Or did someone else rewrite it to resemble their tastes instead?

(via divanoid)

(Source: mychocolatecity)

Màalem Abdelkebir Merchane & Mohamed Kouyo - Lhadiya + Ali Ya Ali. <3 <3 <3333



Essaouira, Morocco. 2014

by Alia Radman


Happening now: @den_ent MAALEM HASSAN BEN JAAFER AND FRIENDS as a part of our weekly #DenSessions at @WhyNotJazzRoom
#Moroccan #Gnawa #WhyNotJazzRoom #WestVillage (at whynot Jazz Room)

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