NewsGnawa music, Known As Moroccan Blues, Is Gaining Traction

Gnawa music, Known As Moroccan Blues, Is Gaining Traction

Gnawa music is often likened to American blues and gospel.

Gnawa music is a mixture of African rhythms and Islamic poetry created by enslaved West Africans brought to Morocco. For centuries, it was only played within the confines of spiritual ceremonies. But the once sacred genre has since found its way to the mainstream. 

“Gnawa” is a word used to define Black people of West African decent in Morocco.

“In blues or funk there is a call-and-response,” Hakim said. “So automatically, the first time I heard Gnawas, I said, ‘Wow this sounds like music from back home.’” 

“You can trace the blues to the Black cultures from Senegal, Gambia, Mali, who then traveled North into Morocco, the Black races. When you come here and hear the Gnawa you feel the same thing that we feel with the old-time blues,“ the actor told correspondent Bill Whitaker. 

The festival opens with a Mardi Gras-style parade featuring musicians and dancers marching through the city dressed in brightly colored costumes.

Hamid El Kasri headlined this year’s festival. The beloved musician is credited for popularizing the Gnawa genre in mainstream society. 

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Source: Black Enterprise


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