GNAWA MUSIC OF MARRAKESH
Night Spirit Masters
Gnawa, bottom heavy trance music of North Africa. Repetitive bass lines, generated by the gimbri or sintir with metal clappers, hand drums and voice. Seven trances, seven colors, seven scents, Gnawa not only moves, it can remove. - Bill Laswell, Hell's Kitchen, NYC, May 2022
Remastered vinyl reissue of this 1990 Bill Laswell / Richard Horowitz production of local Gnawa musicians, recorded in the Medina of Marrakesh. According to Allmusic.com a must for fans of both African and Middle Eastern music and voted one of the 10 essential Gnawa albums by Songlines.
The Gnawa are an ethnic minorityin todays Morocco, descendents of slaves from West Africa who were brought to Morocco in the 16th century and who (although they quickly converted to Islam) nevertheless brought with them remnants of their animistic practices. The Gnawa perform a complex ceremony (called lila or derdeba) that over the duration of several hours recreates the genesis of the universe by the evocation of the seven main manifestations of the divine, represented by seven colours. Those ceremonies, led by a master or maleem, are still taking place today privately while Gnawa music in general has clearly been modernizing and thus become more profane, but witnessing a performance is still an astonishing experience.