JUNE 27-29, 2024


Maâlem Brahim El Belkani



Maâlem Brahim El Belkani

Born in 1945 in Marrakech, Maâlem Brahim El Belkani is one of the pioneers of Gnaoua fusion, though he is not himself from a Gnaoua family. He grew up in a family of musicians: his father played Dekka music while his mother followed the Dikr (Sufi chants). He was initiated by the master El Mahjoub. Near the age of 18, he was recognised by his peers and received the title of maâlem, as well as his own master’s guembri. Maâlem El Belkani was one of the first to fuse his spiritually-charged notes with legends of Jazz, rock, and world music. This venerable maâlem can indeed take credit for the most impressive accomplishments. His anthology performance with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) in 1993 is a magnificent example of musical empathy, opening the way for many musicians. Maâlem Brahim El Belkani also has played with the amazing Randy Weston and Indian legend Ravi Shankar, as well as leading figures of French song such as Jacques Higelin and Claude Nougaro.