On December 12, UNESCO added Gnaoua to its Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH).
Rabat – The Yerma Gnaoua Association, the Assalam Al Masrahi association of Marrakech, and a number of civil society actors from the ochre city, threw an official celebration on Wednesday, 9 January, to mark the inscription of the Gnaoua art on the list of UNESCO’s Intangible heritage.
The evening was marked by the participation of several renowned Gnaoua artists, including Ahmed Bakbou, Mustapha Bakbou, Abdelkebir Marchane, Mohamed Kouyou, Hassan Gadiri, Abdelkebir Ben Seloum, and Eddahbi Moulay Ettayeb.
The president of the Yerma Gnaoua Association, Abdeslam Alikane said that the inscription recognizes the efforts of several actors who have strived for the inclusion of Gnaoua art on UNESCO’s list and paved the way for the art to be internationally recognized.
He added that the recognition from UNESCO will encourage the establishment of a Museum dedicated to Gnaoua art and its integration into the programs of music conservatories and specialized institutes. Alikane hopes that the inscription will also encourage the youth to innovate in this art, preserve it, and develop it.
Gnaoua music has its own annual festival taking place in Essaouira every summer.
UNESCO’s Intangible Heritage list includes 429 art forms to date and aims to ensure greater visibility of the cultural practices and know-how of traditional communities.