giovedì 20 giugno 2013

Gnawa music & Gnawa Origins

The Gnawa (or Gnaoua, Ghanawa, Ghanawi, Gnawi) people originated from North and West Africa; to be precise the ancient Ghanaian Empire of Ouagadougou (present day Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Burkino Faso and 85% of Mali).
photo:Fatima Abbadi
This name Gnawa is taken from one of the indigenous languages of the Sahara Desert called Tamazight. The phonology of this term according to the grammatical principles of Tamazight is as follows: Gnawi (singular), Gnawa (collective) and Gnawn (plural rarely used).

The Gnawa are an ethnic group whom, with the passing of time became a part of the Sufi order in Morocco. This kingdom bordered Morocco and Algeria's southern borders, and had a 300 year blood war with Morocco, prior to both countries forging a long lasting peace accord (conducted between the Monarchs of both countries alone with a scribe). Evidence of this is found is the tribal oral tradition of both countries (Soussi, Riffi, & Ashanti tribes). The result of which saw unprecedented levels of marriages between the Gnawis (ancient Ghanaians) and Soussis of Morocco. A small percentage of this community (Gnawa/Ghanawa) were given to Morocco's monarch (Mulay: to mean Emperor) as workers as a token and seal of the aforementioned accord. They traveled to Morocco by way of tribal caravans during (and external to) the hours of trade Trans-Saharan trade.[wikipedia]

Gnawa music is a rich repertoire of ancient African Islamic spiritual religious songs and rhythms. Its well preserved heritage combines ritual poetry with traditional music and dancing. The music is performed at 'Lila's', entire communal nights of celebration, dedicated to prayer and healing, guided by the Gnawa Maalem and his group of musicians and dancers. Though many of the influences that formed this music can be traced to sub-Saharan West-Africa, its traditional practice is concentrated in Morocco and the Béchar Province in South-western Algeria.[wikipedia]

The Gnaoua World Music Festival is a Gnawa music festival held annually in Essaouira, Morocco.
The festival provides a platform for exchanges and a meeting point of music and dialogue between foreign artists and the mystical Gnaoua (also Gnawa) musicians. In this melting-pot of musical fusion, the Gnaoua masters invite players of jazz, pop, rock and contemporary World music to explore new avenues.

An example of the rythm and music is exectuted my the master Mahmoud Guinia, a Moroccan Gnawa musician, singer and guembri player, who is traditionally regarded as a Maâllem.

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