By Omar Bihmidine
By Omar Bihmidine
Morocco World News
Rabat, June 9, 2012
The 15th annual Gnawa Festival is going to be held in Essaouria this year from June 21 to 24 and is living proof that the Moroccan society opens its outstretched arms to the world, and highlights experiences by sharing, cultural exchange and multiculturalism among its priorities at the cultural level. What characterizes this cultural event and imbues it with a unique charm is that the greatest maâlems Gnaoua sings with international artists It is here where traditional Moroccan music brilliantly meets and identifies with Jazz music, Latin music, classical music and African music, to name but a few.
Essaouira, known for holding such cultural events, is a place where one can discover and easily identify with the culture of Morocco. This year is special in that the festival will celebrate the anniversary of worldwide music. As usual, new exotic singing experiences will come to the fore, such as African rhythm and Sufi music.
Contrary to the usual openings, this year’s opening will take a freshly charmed form that is meant to be a surprise to the fans of Gnawa music. The latter has always been a sign of positive acculturation in that it is usually played with the accompaniment of Latin music, Jazz music and many other universal music styles. This nice mix characterizing Gnawa music assembles a variety of cultures from different continents and attracts music lovers from all over the world irrespective of their nationality, their culture and their spoken dialects and languages,. For Gnaawa fans, it would suffice that they all equally enjoy playing and listening to good music.
This year, the festival is going to host the maâlems Said Abdellah and Oughassal Akharraz with the West African Djembe percussion in a new, mingling style. During the festival, ” Mix up Morocco,” initiated by maâlem Boussou Hassan, Nasser and the Marseille group Mobydick Moroccan rapper is intended to impart to the world that Morocco is a country of tolerance, sharing, and the peaceful mixture of cultures.
In their turn, Cuban music and Latin jazz from New York with the directory of Querencia maâlem Abdelkebir Merchane will also be playing at the festival as a sign of their identification with the music of the other participants. A cultural city par excellence, Essaouira enthralls through its previous Gnawa festivals the Malian diva Oumou Sangare who will through her African charming music focus on entertainment as a joy to the fans and on multiculturalism as a means to an end. Several other distinguished musicians are expected to give their excellent performances in Essaouira.
Having united cultures with each other and Gnawa music with that of other continents, in Africa in particular, Gnawa festival has succeeded in attracting more distinguished international music stars who also believe in acculturation as a way of strengthening and tying relations of all sorts among continents in general and African countries in particular. Through the charm of Gnawa music, the fans with their different nationalities manage to release themselves from everyday burdens, challenges of intolerance and racism, and other worldly concerns.
They feel as though they were held under an appealing spell, particularly when they renew themselves at the festival and turn over a new leaf when they encounter and savor the music of others. Essaouira Gnawa festival, the newly recognized home of all cultures, must be attended and celebrated, especially at a time when most cultures of world are torn apart.