#3771: Modern Gnawa Music

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Hassan Hakmoun

Gnawa is both a religious/spiritual order of a traditionally Black Muslim group who came from sub-Saharan & West Africa to Morocco by way of migration, both voluntary and forced as slaves, and a music – which stems from their ancestral culture. The Gnawa bridge two worlds between man and spirits, and through musical ceremonies and trances claim to access and appease the spirits with songs, dances and chants.

For this New Sounds, explore some of this traditional Gnawa ritual healing music Morocco, from the late Moroccan Maalem Mahmoud Guinia (Maalem means “master”), who plays the bass lute, or guembre/gimbri, together with Floating Points (aka producer/dj/composer Sam Shepherd.) Then, sample hard-grooving music by Moroccan-born, New York-based singer/composer/sintir (bass lute) player Hassan Hakmoun from his recent, "Unity."  

Hear the groove of this Gnawa music by way of Washington DC in the world music-inflected band Les Rhinocéros, who happen to incorporate Jewish themes. There’s also music by Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca with underlying Gnawa rhythms, along with something from Swiss jazz trio Podjama and les Gnawa de Marrakech. Then, listen to music from the founder of Orchestre national de Barbès, singer, lute player & former partner of Joe Zawinul, Aziz Sahmaoui, & The University of Gnawa.  Plus, new music from Malian kora player Ballake Sissoko and French cellist Vincent Segal, on which Segal’s cello imitates the Gnawa rhythms. 

PROGRAM #3771 Modern Gnawa Music (First Aired 09-10-2015)





Various Artist: Brahim Belkani

Ouled Bambara: Portraits of Gnawa

Sheshiyat Bambara, excerpt [3:00]

Twos & Fews #002/ Drag City 403 

Maalem Mahmoud Guinia & Floating Points


Mimoun Marhaba [8:13]

Border Community 46BCD / or Eglo EGBC001 on 12” Vinyl
normanrecords.com OR Download from Amazon.co.uk 

Les Rhinocéros

Les Rhinocéros III

Jacob (Scenic 6) [3:27]

Tzadik 7812

Hassan Hakmoun


Dima Dima (Always) [5:55]

Healing Records
Available at Amazon.com

Aziz Sahmaoui & The University of Gnawa


Daw Daw [4:00]

World Village 479099

Hassan Hakmoun


Boudarbalayi (Saint) [6:52]

See above.

Podjama & les Gnawa


Podjama & les Gnawa de Marrakech


A corps perdu/ Allah Moulana [7:36]

Altrisuoni #070 Out of print, but download from jphz.bandcamp.com

Roberto Fonseca


Gnawa Stop [5:18]

Concord Jazz PRO-CJ-0575

Ballake Sissoko & Vincent Segal

Musique de Nuit

Balazando [6:26]

Six Degrees Records