The 15th edition
Gnawa World Music fans will be well served this year. The 2012 edition will indeed be imbued with
a special flavor. This fetival has been around for fifteen years, and the celebration will be more
than appropriate. Several surprises will be planned. The idea is to celebrate this anniversary as
it should be yet. It constitutes also a way to pay homage another time to all those who have so faithfully
supported the holding of this festival. The Gnawa musical heritage will as always be in the limelight
and new sound experiences will inhabit the city for four full days. Jazz, electro rock, African rhythms,
Sufi music, and Latin jazz will all come to the fore. No musical soul will be left in the lurch.
The Gnawa maalems will be rolling up their sleeves. Some have already made their special accouterments for the fifteenth anniversary. The garments will be colorfully faithful to the image of this image. The opening will occur in brilliant fashion. Firstly, because this year the inauguration coincides with the international music celebrations. The Essaouira event will be integrated into the Music Festival celebrations across the world. Even though the celebration is still present in Essaouira during the festival over entertainment it is still music and culture that predominant. Since its inception, the Gnawa and World Music Festival has been positioned in the scope of musical research rather than just a festival of diverse manifestations. It is in this direction that the artistic residences are paramount in the artistic programming.
This year five projects have entered into the laboratory. This refers to Maalems Saïd Oughassal and
Abdellah Akharraz with the percussions of West Africa, Djembe and New Style in an explosive mixture.
Maalem Hassan Boussou, the Nasser band from Marseilles and Moroccan rapper Mobydick, will offer an
astonishing and original spectacle called « Mix Up Morocco » in partnership with the Marsatac festival.
Also on the menu will be Cuban Querencia and New York Latin jazz music with the repertory of maalem
Abdelkebir Merchane. A great mixture of Latin jazz and Gnawa that won’t fail to attract numerous music
lovers. In a spontaneous and well though out residency, the Meknes Issaoua will synchronize to the
rhythms of Qawwalis musicians from Pakistan and not just any because they will be the two brothers
Fareed Ayaz and Abu Mohammad.
Among the artistic roster will be star the malian diva Oumou Sangaré who will enchant again Essaouira.
Her performance will be memorable and the artistic producers will capitalize on the sure value made in
Africa. Jazz being the predilection of the festival in second place after the guiding star of Gnawa, great
jazzmen will come to Essaouira to mark the 15th anniversary. Sylvain Luc and maalem Abdeslam Alikane
and his Tyour Gnawa troop will communicate from the Moulay Hassan stage an exchange consisting of
the purest of notes via an impressive improvisation. Other notable guests will be the musicians of the
Joachim Kühn trio, Majid Bekkas, Ramon Lopez & the Gnawas of Salé. The well known German pianist
Joachim Kühn will weave his impressive music throughout the entire city.