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GNAOUA FESTIVAL

GNAOUA FESTIVAL

Created in 1998 by the A3 Communication Agency, the Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival is produced and organised by the agency to this day. Since its creation, the Festival’s success has been skyrocketed from edition to edition, attracting more Gnaoua and fusion fans from around the world. The Festival has thus cast a spotlight on this rich popular culture, deeply rooted in African tradition. What makes this event truly one-of-a-kind are the     unique musical experiences created by bringing together Gnaoua maâlems (masters) and the greatest musicians from jazz and world music. 

Essaouira, world capital of Gnaoua trance

Musical alchemy: Gnaoua music meets world music

The Gnaoua Festival was the result of an original concept: to resonate the musical tradition of Gnaoua with other forms of music from around the world. Over the years, some of most well-known international artists have appeared alongside the great maâlems, letting their creativity and imaginations run wild. From Randy Weston to Omar Sosa and Lucky Peterson, so many magnificent artists have performed on the Festival stages, blending their music, style, and individual instruments and tempos with the art of the late Mahmoud Guinéa, Abdeslam Alikane, and Hamid El Kasri (as hosts and masters of their art, these maâlems are extraordinary alchemists who invite all musical inclinations to the stage, from jazz to electronic, from Afro to rock). 

Essaouira, Morocco’s Woodstock

The Gnaoua Festival is in large part responsible for the renaissance of the city of Essaouira. This birthplace of Gnaoua music has become a Moroccan Woodstock, where the ambient bohemian culture and art-filled spirit have been brought back to life by the Festival. Historically, the city is a crossroads of diverse populations, and now, every year, three to four hundred thousand festivalgoers descend upon the city every year, vibrating to the sounds of brass crotals. The Gnaoua Festival has also been a major vector of the city’s development, both cultural and economic. Bringing in its wake a huge economic boom, the Festival has been a godsend for the residents and business community of Essaouira.

References

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