I was blessed to have sum hand drummers in my early life that exposed me to Gnawa and the music of Marrakesh (the capitol of Morocco). Although Morocco is not known for it’s equal rights for or humane treatment of women, the women are the strongest among them. Love and Gratitude to D. Goodman, Moona El B. & Bebo. Happy New Year to One and All!
The Gnawa Music of Marrakesh (full album) audio music is being posted here for NO COMMERCIAL PURPOSES. Album: Night Spirit Masters. Performed by Mustapha Baqbou, Said Oughassal, Brahim El Belkani, Abdelqader Oughassal, Said Fafy and company. Recorded by Billy Youdelman in the Medina of Marrakesh, 1990. Song: Mohammed Rasoul Allal. Album: Global Celebration: Dancing with the Gods. Performed by the Halima Chedli Ensemble. Recorded by Randall Barnwell in Dar El Basha, Marrakesh, 1995. Photos by: http://www.felicewillatphotography.com/
Gnawa music (Ar. غْناوة or كْناوة) is a north african repertoire of ancient African spiritual religious songs and rhythms. Its well-preserved heritage combines ritual poetry with traditional music and dancing. The music is performed at lila, entire communal nights of celebration dedicated to prayer and healing guided by the Gnawa maalem, or master musician, and their group of musicians and dancers.
The word “Gnawa”, plural of “Gnawi”, is taken to be derived from the Hausa-Fulani demonym “Kanawa” for the residents of Kano, the capital of the Hausa-Fulani Emirate. The Moroccan language often replaces “K” with “G”, which is how the Kanawa, or Hausa people, were called Gnawa in Morocco.
In a Gnawa song, one phrase or a few lines are repeated over and over, so the song may last a long time. In fact, a song may last several hours non-stop. However, what seems to the uninitiated to be one long song is actually a series of chants, to do with describing the various spirits (in Arabic mlouk (sing. melk), so what seems to be a 20-minute piece may be a whole series of pieces – a suite for Sidi Moussa, Sidi Hamou, Sidi Mimoun or the others. But because they are suited for adepts in a state of trance, they go on and on, and have the effect of provoking trance from different angles.
The melodic language of the stringed instrument is closely related to their vocal music and to their speech patterns. It is a language that emphasizes on the tonic and fifth, with quavering pitch-play, especially pitch-flattening, around the third, the fifth, and sometimes the seventh. This is the language of the blues.