It doesn’t matter if you can’t pronounce either of these words. Just know that Gnaoua (sometimes spelled at Gnawa) is wonderful hypnotic music, and that the Moroccan city of Essaouira holds a Gnaoua Festival every year in June. I wasn’t there in June, but the town was still full of this trance-like music.
It is this marriage that inspires the Annual Essaouira Gnaoua Festival, and attracts western musicians to come and perform and improvise with their Moroccan brothers in music. After this revelation late at night in the restaurant (resulting in a 1 am return to our backstreet riad in the medina), the search commenced for some CDs of Gnaoua music. A number were eventually purchased, but nothing seems quite as special as those two guys amongst the exotic pillows of the restaurant bar, the gimbri-player with his tassel swinging.
|Backstreets of Essaouira. |
You never know what you will find.
Wikipedia has information on the origins of Gnaoua and the Essouira Festival.
And for the music itself: here’s a clip gleaned from You-Tube: