On tour in Morocco, the Gnaoua Festival reinvents itself and unveils its program

Gnaoua and World Music of Essaouira, faithful to its singular spirit, is reinventing itself once again, and becomes the Gnaoua Festival Tour for this special edition, due to health restrictions. The Festival will take place in Essaouira, Marrakech, Casablanca and Rabat, from June 3 to 24, 2022.

The tour will take the form of a musical caravan that will crisscross Morocco during the month of June to meet its loyal audience in 4 cities of the Kingdom.

The Gnaoua Festival Tour will be an opportunity to celebrate with the public the universality of Gnaoua art and its inclusion on the UNESCO list of cultural and intangible heritage of humanity.

While waiting to find the Gnaoua and World Music Festival in Essaouira in 2023 in its usual format, this tour will be an opportunity to celebrate, wherever it goes, the authenticity and success of Gnaoua and Essaouira.

Four stopovers for this musical and festive caravan which exclusively presents concerts of pure Tagnaouite and ever more daring fusions. This exceptional tour will take place from June 3 to 24, 2022, with a first stopover in Essaouira, the birthplace of the festival, before continuing in Marrakech, Casablanca and Rabat.

Essaouira opens the ball

For two days, June 3 and 4, Essaouira will return to its quarters. Eleven of the most famous maâlems of the beautiful Mogador meet the public for colorful musical fusion performances and concerts of the pure Gnaoua repertoire, during twelve concerts, Place Moulay El Hassan and Dar Souiri.

Honor first to Africa with a long-awaited merger. The Malian Vieux Farka Touré, nicknamed the “Hendrix of the desert”, cador of musical collaboration, finds with his trio the maâlem most inhabited by African music, Abdeslam Alikane, accompanied by the ribab of Aziz Ouzouss, cantor of culture Amazigh for a smooth and harmonious concert.

But jazz is not to be outdone: the one who revolutionized and redefined the artistic potential of his instrument, the bass, and who since the 1970s has traveled the world and played with the greatest, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, accompanied by Ronnie Burrage at the drums and Kelvyn Bell on the guitar will share the stage with the maâlem with the bewitching voice Saïd Boulhimas. The Guinea family will be there in force, during two concerts: the maâlem Moktar and his Gnaoua Soul project and the maâlem Houssam in fusion with no less than six talented musicians, flautist, guitarist, singers… Twelve concerts, including 5 fusions, 6 concerts Gnaoua and 1 Issaoua concert. Without forgetting the traditional opening parade.

Marrakech in Tagnaouite mode

The ocher city will take up the torch on June 9 at the Megarama, honoring the public with the presence of two of the greatest Gnaoua maâlems. Abdelkebir Merchane and Mustapha Baqbou who will go on stage, initially, to present some of the purest repertoire of Gnaoua art. These two great maâlems will be joined on stage by a host of musicians, who have energy and passion in common: the bewitching Hindi Zahra, the extraordinary Haitian saxophonist Jowee Omicil, the Senegalese Cheikh Diallo with his kora and his keyboard, Yaya Ouattara the magician percussionist from Burkina Faso, the Senegalese virtuoso guitarist Hervé Samb, the Algerian drummer Karim Ziad, a smuggler of musical bridges.

June 10 will also be fusional, but in Moroccan colors. The experienced Gnaoua master, Abderrazak El Hadir, will invite three musicians of the new generation to share, at the Center Les Étoiles de Jamâa El Fna. Marrakech is home to five concerts, 2 fusions and 3 Gnaoua concerts.

At Casa, energy and blending the appointment

For Casablanca, the Gnaoua Festival Tour has chosen energy and interbreeding for 3 days of celebration. On June 16 and 17, the esplanade of the Mohammed V stadium will be a 100% musical playground. Like the concert on June 16: Maâlem Hassan Boussou, an experienced fan of crossbreeding and fusion, invites on stage the English folk singer Piers Faccini, the guardian of the temple of Moroccan song Soukaina Fahsi, and two music enthusiasts of the world, percussionist drummer Cyril Atef and multi-instrumentalist Malik Ziad. And on June 17, it’s a real musical whirlwind with two thousand-volt fusion concerts.

To start the evening, the Maâlem Ismail Rahil will join the hypnotic journey of the Trio Assala mixing jazz, Arab-Andalusian and the rhythms of southern Morocco, a trio formed by drummer Karim Ziad, virtuoso pianist Omri Mor and by the one who is considered the comes from the Gnawa tradition in Morocco, Mehdi Nassouli.

All enhanced by the saxophone of the iconoclast Jowee Omicil. And to close this electric Friday, a fusion of two continents in apotheosis: the Gnaoua rhythms of Maâlem Khalid Sansi, figure of the next generation of Gnaoua in Casablanca, and the Cuban rhythms of CimaFunk, this artist with a unique and refreshing universe, who has redefined contemporary Cuban music as well as Afro-Latin identity and the fusion of black cultures.

Gnaoua Festival Tour in Casablanca, there are many other surprises and musical nuggets: nine concerts including 4 fusions, 3 Gnaoua concerts and 2 100% energy concerts. June 16 and 17, Esplanade Stade Mohammed V and June 19 at the Touria & Abdelaziz Tazi Foundation (L’Uzine).

Rabat closes the ball on jazz notes

In Rabat, jazz will prove once again that it is the privileged guest of the Gnaoua. It is a very special concert that the Gnaoua Festival Tour will present at the National Theater Mohammed V on June 23rd. Avishai Cohen, considered one of the pillars of contemporary jazz, talented double bass player and singer, genius composer and his Trio will meet on stage the maâlem with bewitching charisma, Hamid El Kasri, carried away by the saxophone and accordion of jazzmen Émile Parisien and Vincent Peirani, and the profound sweetness of Moroccan singer Nabyla Maan.

The blues will also be invited to Rabat on June 24, but a mixed and deep blues with the Majid Bekkas Afro-Gnaoua Blues Band, at the La Renaissance cinema.

The Gnaoua Festival Tour will close its tour in Rabat with five concerts / 2 fusions, 2 Gnaoua concerts and 1 pure jazz concert over two days on June 23 and 24.

During each of the stages, the concerts will be organized in strict compliance with the health and safety conditions decided by the governmental and local authorities, the organizers remind.

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