ONCE UPON A 21st EDITION
A “Master” edition of its time
The Gnaoua and World Music Festival returns from the 21st to the 23rd of June to the place where it began, its beloved city of Essaouira. One of the most eagerly anticipated artistic events of Moroccan and international cultural calendars, this 21st edition again promises unforgettable moments of emotion and exchange.
Another opportunity to underscore the event’s DNA: A Festival that breathes new life – though the magic of fusion and convergence – into the art of Gnaoua. Proud of its African roots, this Festival now offers every chance to the new team to take up the torch and continue with success.
The Gnaoua and World Music Festival in Essaouira has never ceased to promote the talent and heritage of Gnaoua, for the benefit of all. Thanks to fusion, the Festival’s hallmark, maâlems meet up with the greatest musicians in the world, each of whom falls under the charm of this rich, enchanting music. Twenty years on, this tradition continues and the status of maâlems has evolved to a new level. They are now recognised and respected throughout the world.
Today, the Festival relies more than ever upon young people and their determination to perpetuate traditions. The 21st edition thus celebrates the next generation of maâlems, offering them the opportunity to take the mythical stage at Moulay El Hassan, with the benevolent presence and willing support of the great masters.
Since its creation in 1998, the Gnaoua Festival has placed Africa at the heart of its program and in the centre of the continent’s ancient port of Essaouira. Countless artists have answered the call to join the maâlems for unforgettable fusions and residencies, reminding us that the art of Gnaoua, like all the world’s music, has its origins in the cradle of humanity.
From Senegal to Mali, by way of Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Zaire or Guinea, the Festival has hosted the greatest names of the African scene. “The Gnaoua and World Music Festival strives to promote creative Africa, fostering opportunities for encounters that will bring new perspectives, exchanges, and emotions. In the words of Festival producer Neila Tazi, “In this context, the Gnaoua Festival has recently participated in the Market of the African Performing Arts in Abidjan, the largest performing arts market in Africa. On this occasion, the Festival was presented as a “socioeconomic model of urban development through a cultural event”.
Proud of its African roots, the Gnaoua Festival continues to develop collaborations with the continent and to nourish exchanges with artists from all parts of the world.