JUNE 27-29, 2024

The stars of The Gnaoua and World Music Festival – 25th Edition


Committed artists, powerful voices, and exceptional musicians: The stars of the Gnaoua and World Music Festival – 25th edition will set the stages on fire!

The Gnaoua and World Music Festival in Essaouira will celebrate its 25th edition next June 27-29. A truly memorable first quarter of a century that has seen the greatest names of jazz and world music take the stage alongside Gnaoua Masters. This year will be no exception. With top of the bill musicians who have never performed before in Morocco, the Festival promises unforgettable nights, when fever pitch sounds from all 4 corners of the world will wash over the city of trade winds.
Buika (Spain), Saint Levant (Palestine), The Brecker Brothers Band Reunion (USA), Labess (France, Algeria) and Bokanté (USA, Guadeloupe) are some of the headliners that will light up this 25th edition. Flamenco, blues, jazz, oriental music, rap, Gypsy rumba, chaabi, … Once again and more than ever, this line-up confirms the eclectic character that has established the Festival as an absolutely not-to-be-missed event on the music world’s global calendar.

The emotion that pours from Buika’s husky, powerful voice has made her one of the most distinctive and famous Spanish artists in the world today. An incredibly expressive voice that blends soul and flamenco with the depth of jazz, transcending linguistic barriers and eluding musical borders.

Saint Levant–a rising star on the international music scene–is a Palestinian rapper with multiple origins and a multigenerational audience. He brilliantly combines Arabic, English and French in his very politically-charged tracks. Fusing hip hop and orientalist R&B, his music is rocking on streaming platforms, chalking up millions of views on social media.

With the choice to program Randy Brecker and his group (The Brecker Brothers Band Reunion), the Festival welcomes one of the biggest names in jazz for the past 50 years. Along with his brother, the late Michael Brecker, he has captured stages around the world and continues to influence generations of musicians.

The warm and festive music of Labess has deep roots in Algerian chaabi, which the group combines with flamenco and rumba to preach a message of peace and unity. Known for their wildly high-energy performances, Labess offers up music that is defined by mixity, freedom, and presence.

Bokanté–the supergroup of instrumentalists from different backgrounds–bears the label of Michael League, one of his generation’s great jazz bassists and the founder Snarky Puppy. The group boasts a major asset: singer Malika Tirolien, who masters the vocal exuberance of jazz to perfection, evoking the struggles facing today’s world in Creole, French, and English.

To celebrate this 25th edition, the Gnaoua and World Music Festival in Essaouira will present 53 concerts featuring a total of over 400 artists.

Like every year, the artistic selection is perfectly balanced between Gnaoua Masters and world musicians, and this 25th edition will offer a carefully curated program that highlights a wide variety of musical styles. Every audience will find their pleasure in a program that is avant-gardist, bold, harmonious and inclusive, inviting all to participate in the unique experience that is the hallmark of the Gnaoua and World Music Festival.



María Concepción Balboa Buika, known as Buika, is a Spanish singer of Equato-Guinean origin, born in 1972 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. She grew up among Gitanos, developing a voice with the raspy inflections of flamenco, copla, jazz, soul, and funk. She is considered one of the most singular singers on today’s Spanish music panorama. During a trip to London, she was invited to a Pat Metheny concert. Since then, her life has taken a major turn. She began to perform with local groups. In 2005, this jazzwoman released her first album, simply titled Buika. In 2006, she released Mi Niña Lola, which went on to win two Grammys and a certified gold award in Spain. She came back two years later with Niña de Fuego. Between soul, jazz, and flamenco, Buika stands out with her passionate interpretations and a singular voice; a voice that conveys lived experiences. Buika has worked with influential musicians, producers and DJs such as Carlos Santana, Rick Rubin, Cindy Blackman, Seal, as well as the renowned Spanish film director Pedro Almodóvar, to name a few.


Saint Levant, AKA Marwan Abdelhamid, was born in Jerusalem to a French- Algerian mother and Serbian-Palestinian father during the second Intifada. He spent 10 years in Gaza, to which he would dedicate his first EP From Gaza with Love. In 2007, Marwan and his family were forced to flee to Jordan, where he spent the rest of his youth, before moving to Los Angeles.
Drawing inspiration from his origins with influences that combine traditional Arab music, R&B, and hip-hop, this young artist embraces the plurality of his own cultural heritage as well as that of the global Arab community and the Palestinian struggle. His internationally-appealing tracks are written in Arabic, French and English, and have garnered a global audience.
His most recent track “Deira”, released in February 2024, evokes a hotel designed and managed by his architect/entrepreneur father. Located in Al-Rimal, overlooking the sea in Gaza City, the Hotel Deira was Marwan’s childhood home, and one of the most beautiful structures in the city. Now it is gone, destroyed by Tsahal bombings over recent months.



Throughout the 1970s and 80s, trumpetist Randy Brecker and his younger brother saxophonist Michael Brecker opened a pathway to musical reinvention with a mix of sophisticated jazz harmonies and fired-up solos with stunning funk grooves and a rock-like energy. On the strength of their eponymous first album in 1975 and the subsequent series of hit albums – Back To Back (1976), Don›t Stop The Music (1977), Heavy Metal Be-Bop (1978), Détente (1980) and Straphangin› (1981) – these heavyweights of funk fusion known as the Brecker Brothers would define a new sub-genre of jazz, clearing the way for a young generation of musicians. After the Brecker Brothers broke up in 1982, Randy went on to tour and record with Jaco Pastorius’ big band, Word Of Mouth. In 2001, Randy reconnected with his brother Michael for a European tour, performing an acoustic version of the Brecker Bros, and promoting his own album Hangin› In The City. Michael died on January 2007 ,13. Four years later, while Randy was putting together a group to perform at the Blue Note in New York, he realized that all the musicians he had contacted had each played in different versions of the Brecker Brothers Band. In tribute to Michael, he chose the name of The Brecker Brothers Band Reunion


Labess, the group, found its musical identity on the road to exile. Plural, free, and alive. With the combined influence of artist Nedjim Bouizzoul’s Algerian roots and global wanderings. Labess is a journey that begins in Algiers, in the working-class district of Hussein-Dey. Nedjim Bouizzoul grew up amid the chaabi of his “big brother” musicians, seeking his own voice and his own vocation. A calling echoed in his heart for the guitar, and for North America. At the age of 18, he emigrated with his mother and sisters to Quebec, where he began to play in the street or in the metro. He considers himself a self-taught street musician, and would soon discover café concerts, and his first musical collaborations. Then came Labess (Arabic for “all is well”), the name of his group and his eponymous first album (2007). A music that is open to the world’s winds and languages: sounds from Africa, Gypsy rumba, flamenco, and lyrics in Algerian Arabic dialect, Spanish, and French. Profound, activistic. Nedjim spent two years in Colombia. In 2021 he released a 4th album, Yemma, in tribute to his mother who sacrificed everything to offer him the chance to fly. The journey continues, and Labess brings joy to concert halls in North Africa and across the world. He now lives in France


The term “Bokanté” means exchange in Creole, the mother tongue spoken by Malika Tirolien, who grew up on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. In 2013, while recording Snarky Puppy’s first Family Dinner, Michael League invited the young Quebec-based singer to participate. She dropped her sun- soaked, jazz and soul-filled voice on the songs “I’m Not the One” and “Sew”. The two friends have found company once again in Bokanté, along with a Snarky Puppy contingent that includes the group’s two guitarists: Chris McQueen and Bob Lanzetti. They are joined by percussion legend Jamey Haddad (Paul Simon, Sting), lap-steel guitar virtuoso Roosevelt Collier (Lee Boys, Karl Denson), and percussionists André Ferrari (Väsen) and Keita Ogawa (Banda Magda,
Yo-Yo Ma). An atypical instrumentation that intertwines sounds from the desert and the delta, blues and Caribbean Kaladja, a diverse ensemble that is rich in melody and groove. Singing both in Creole and in French, Tirolien’s lyrics echo the struggles we face in today’s world – racism, refugee crises, a planet in agony, and indifference to human suffering

Download the press release 2024