Pioneer Works presents Gnaoua et Jazz, an evening uniting iconic representatives from the historically linked genres of Jazz and Gnaoua. Featuring two great masters of the Gnaoua tradition, Maâlem Hamid El Kasri and Maâlem Abdesslam Alikane and jazz luminaries led by Grammy award winning drummer Will Calhoun and featuring Marcus Strickland, Marc Cary and Jamaaladeen Tacuma among others — the concert will celebrate the long-standing existence of collaborations between pioneering jazz artists and Gnaoua musicians.
This program is a part of the city-wide celebration for the 20th anniversary of the world-renowned Moroccan Festival Gnaoua et Des Musiques du Monde in Essaouira, Morocco,
This show is presented in collaboration with Lincoln Center, Yerma Gnaoua, and The Festival Gnaoua et Musiques du Monde. This tour is made possible in part by support from OCP and TV5MONDE. Additional support provided by the Moroccan National Office of Tourism.
About Gnaoua Music
Trance-inducing gnaoua music and rituals have been practiced for centuries in Morocco. The music, one of North Africa’s great spiritual and cultural traditions, is played on an array of instruments—from the lute-like, three-string sintir that the Maalem (Master) uses to call the tune, to the metal qraqeb (castanets) with which the kouyos (chorus) keeps time and pounds out clattering, hypnotic rhythms. The term “gnaoua” also refers to the people from various parts of Africa, spanning Mali to Ghana, who were forcibly taken north as slaves to present-day Morocco beginning in the 12th century, and brought their animistic, healing rituals and practices with them. Gnaoua is sung in a number of languages including Bambara, Fulani, and Sudani. Because of its origins, the music was marginalized and it is only in recent decades that its influence and importance as part of Morocco’s cultural heritage has been recognized and celebrated, greatly due to the Festival Gnaoua et Musiques du Monde. The music has been cited as an influence on numerous jazz and blues musicians, Ornette Coleman, and Pharaoh Sanders, along with British rockers Peter Gabriel and Robert Plant, and most notably NEA Jazz Master Randy Weston, an early and steadfast champion of gnawa who helped introduce the music to western audiences.
About Festival Gnaoua et des Musique du Monde D’Essaouira
The Festival was founded in 1998 in the Atlantic port town of Essaouira. Troupes from all over Morocco come to perform and showcase their regional styles on two main stages and several smaller venues. The Festival also draws performers from many parts of Africa and around the world. Christian Scott, Kenny Garrett, Marcus Miller, Oumou Sangare, and Baaba Maal are among those who have graced Festival stages in recent years. Jazz giant Randy Weston has been a major ambassador connecting the New York jazz scene and the Gnaoua community since the late 1960s. He lived in Tangier from 1967 to 1972 and was one of the first American musicians to play at the Gnaoua Festival. He has introduced, mentored, and recorded with dozens of young gnaoua musicians.