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Embrace black Moroccan music and jazz in Rabat

This content was published on Jun 23, 2022 – 23:50

Rabat, June 24 (EFE). – Moroccan Gnawa music, with its hypnotic melodies born of slaves who arrived in the North African country five centuries ago, embraced Thursday in Rabat with Israeli jazz, making it the festival dedicated to this musical genre. It is celebrated every year in Morocco.

A three-hour concert at the Mohammed V Theater in the Moroccan capital until nearly midnight brought together the talent of the jazz trio led by Israeli double guitarist Avichai Cohen, member of the South Korean choir of the 1990s, with a jazz icon. Music Gnaoua Muallem (teacher) Hamid Kasri.

This was the penultimate performance of the Gnaoua Festival 2022 tour, an event in its 24th edition and this year that changed its format to adapt to the pandemic. Having only been staged in the southern city of Essaouira in large spaces, it toured theaters in four cities, before returning to its usual form in 2023.

It started like this on 3 June in Essaouira to continue its journey through the cities of Marrakesh, Casablanca and finally Rabat, where it ends on Friday.

Proclaimed the Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2019, the Gnawa are having beautiful moments in Morocco, with a dedicated young audience that made the Rabat theater tremble, chanting until the last melody to sway its rhythms, standing in the booths.

They danced to soul music composed of a mixture of religious melodies, the rhythm of distinctive cymbals, cymbals, and gimbri strings, a simple three-stringed bass with a rectangular body representing the heart of the gongs. Gnaoua.

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In the proposal of the festival in Rabat, the Gnawa fused with jazz, one of the styles, along with the blues, that mingles better with its musical invocations.

It was led by the Avishai Cohen trio, with Elchin Shirinov on piano and Ronnie Caspi on drums, who, after shining in a solo concert and giving another hour of performance to the Gnawa master, shared the stage with the master and his six dancers, in charge of the rattlesnakes and the dancers at the same time.

The night was highlighted by Moroccan singer-songwriter Nabila Maan, who added a feminine touch to the evening with her voice accompanying Kasri, and French jazz musicians Émile Parisien (soprano saxophone) and Vicente Pierani (accordion) raised their seats for those still seated.

After traversing four cities, the Gnaoua Festival 2022 tour ends on Friday with a final concert in Rabat starring Gnaoua masters Abdelkader Amlil and Aziz Bagbou and the Gnaoua Afro blues band by Majid Bagkas. EFE

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