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Festival Gnaoua



An opening concert in the spirit of mixity

A veritable hymn to the continent, the opening concert is the fruit of an exceptional artistic residency, bringing together Maâlem Mohamed Kouyou and Maâlem Said Kouyou in fusion with Tambours du Burundi-Amagaba, Jaleel Shaw and Sanaa Marahati. A concert destined to be truly incendiary with nearly 25 artists on stage.

Full-throated spiritual melodies, paired with the scenic performances of the Kouyou brothers will face off with the feverish rhythms of the Tambours du Burundi and the haunting laments of Jaleel Shaw, one of the finest alto and soprano saxophonists of his generation. A fusion of eclectic and carefully balanced influences, carried by the crystalline voice of Sanaa Maharati. Saxophonist/ bandleader Jaleel Shaw is part of a generation that is rewriting the rules of jazz. Following his exceptional performance with Maâlem Alikane in 2008, he will reconnect with the magic of Essaouira for this 24th edition of the Festival.

Moulay Hassan Stage – Thursday, June 22, 8:30pm

Maâlem Majid Bekkas, David Patrois, Minino Garay, Mokhtar Samba, Axel Camil

(Morocco - France - Argentina - Senegal)

Fusion is not merely improvisation, but a real human adventure, a dialogue—between artistic and cultural movements—that requires savoir-faire and a dose of spirituality. If there is an artist who knows this better than any other, it is certainly Maâlem Majid Bekkas. With his long experience in mixing African, eastern and western rhythms, and collaborations with artists from far-flung backgrounds, Maâlem Majid Bekkas seems to be the obvious choice to lead the most complex—and most focused—artistic residencies of this edition. This association brings together Majid Bekkas, David Patrois, one of the most talented vibraphonists of his generation, genius of rhythm and spoken word (ancestor of slam) Minino Garay, percussionist Mokhtar Samba, and the thunderous saxophonist Axel Camil. A concert-result of a residency bearing the colours of Morocco, Argentina, Senegal, and France, and destined to set off fireworks.

Moulay Hassan Stage – Saturday, June 24, 8:00pm

El Comité with Maâlem Khalid Sansi

(Morocco - Cuba)

No stranger to bold collaborations, Maâlem Khalid Sansi doesn’t hesitate to experiment with all mixes—from contemporary dance to hip-hop—while meeting the challenge to respect pure Gnaoui tradition. For this 24th edition, Khalid Sansi will pair off with the hottest band on the Afro-Cuban music scene. Considered to be one of the most brilliant and accomplished Cuban musicians of their generation, El Comité brings together the finest talents of the new generation of Cuban jazz. A concert that promises to be the grooviest of the season.

Moulay Hassan Stage – Thursday, June 22, 12:30am (half past midnight)

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AN ASSOCIATION TO Gnaoua's voice