“INVITATION TO A JOURNEY”
Since its creation 22 years ago, The Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival has been inventing, innovating, sharing, and creating. Each year, the magic of this unique Festival rises anew, with unforgettable moments of one-of-a-kind musical experiences.
This year, once again, the Gnaoua and World Music Festival guarantees audacity and authenticity. The 2019 program features 3 days of musical exploration with nearly 40 concerts throughout the city.
In addition to its mission of promoting the art of Gnaoua, an ancestral practice that is more vibrant than ever before, the Festival highlights artists with diverse musical souls, each of whom bears witness to the universal quality of music.
The opening concert is the fruit of a residence shared by Maâlem Hassan Boussou and the Cuban group Osain del Monte, and will be a demonstration of the renewal of two ancestral and therapeutic music forms: Tagnaouite and Afro-Cuban music will send sparks flying over Moulay Hassan Square, from the very first night.
Fusions, the beating heart of the Festival, are about audacity, sharing, and surprises. The audacity of a spellbinding fusion: two exceptional voices, two souls devoted to music will set the stage for sharing: Maâlem Hamid El Kasri and British-Tamil singer Susheela Raman will thrill us with their new universe, where music and spirituality become one. Maâlem Omar Hayat and Guinean author-composer Moh! Kouyaté will perform a 100% Made-in-Africa concert to remind us of our common roots. Sweetness will be on the menu with a taste of Andalusia, between the sublime flamenco dancer Maria Del Mar and Nabyla Maan, the modern voice of malhoun. The musical adventures of two great Gnaouis whose extraordinary talents never cease to amaze us: New York-based Hassan Hakmoun & The Universal Force and Majid Bekkas & his Afro Gnaoua Jazz Ensemble. Young talents represent when the main stage on the beach welcomes a 100% Souiri fusion with the young Maâlem Houssam Gania and Hahouma, most recent winners of springboard competition L’Boulevard.
The main stages of the Festival, Moulay Hassan and the beach, will honour artists of all generations. Like the father-son concert, in which Maâlems Abdelkebir and Hicham Merchane offer up the very best of the Tagnaouite. Multi-generational experience repeats itself with legendary Jamaican reggae group Third World have been performing for over 45 years. Multi-generational with Congolese magician Baloji, the surrealist sorcerer-artist. Multi-generational with the renewal of Moroccan music as represented by the spirited Betweenatna and the talented Mogador Band.
Away from the main stages, this edition sees the return of beautiful encounters during intimate concerts. In the heart of the medina, Dar Loubane will make time stand still for a series of acoustic fusions, like that of Maâlem Alikane and his Tyour Gnaoua troupe with his accomplice, drummer Karim Ziad, and percussionist Rhani Krija. Or an exceptional moment when flamenco meets the Tagnaouite with the great Jorge Pardo and Maâlem Said Oughassal.
Lilas scheduled at Dar Souiri will be some of the highlights and special moments of this edition. The greatest maâlems of the three major Tagnaouite regions will gather for the space of an evening to offer us the best of the Gnaoua repertoire, each in the colours of their schools: Tangier and the lila chamalia, Essaouira and the lila souiriya, and the Rabat region for its lila rbatia. The sacred codes of traditional music are not to be forgotten, and Zaouia Issaoua will welcome maâlems for a series of 100% Tagnaouite concerts. Moments of pure joy for enthusiasts and purists!
The Festival pays tribute this year to the legendary Randy Weston, who passed away in Brooklyn in September 2018, at the honourable age of 92. As a renowned pianist and one of the world’s leading jazz artists, Randy Weston forever and always drew inspiration from the African roots of jazz to develop his music. A lila, a photo exhibition and in finale, a screening of the mythical documentary Randy in Tangier will be the Festival’s way of paying tribute to the memory of this musical brother of Gnaoua, an unconditional lover of African music and pioneer of Gnaoua-jazz fusion.
The Gnaoua and World Music Festival is a space of freedom and exchange, welcoming for the eighth consecutive year the Human Rights Forum, in close partnership with the National Council for Human Rights. This year, once again, participants from all quarters will share their experiences, reflections, visions and aspirations around the theme of “The power of culture against culture of violence”.
The 2019 Edition of the Gnaoua and World Music Festival is true to its promise, to take audiences on a new journey, a journey where authenticity and discovery come together, a journey where time stands still and music enters dialog, a journey where artists and audience join in fusion.
Rendez-vous in Essaouira June 20th – 23rd, 2019 for audacity, for sharing, and for surprises!