About the city, Culture

Gnawa Festival and World Music: A 15th edition in the colours of Jazz and world music.

Per: Alice JOUNDI  

ESSAOUIRA The Gnawa festival and World Music Essaouira is celebrating 15 years from the 21st to 24th of June 2012. The programming includes moments of pure art, Latin jazz, African rhythms, electro rock, rap and sufi music.

For the 15th consecutive year, the Gnawa Festival and World Music Essaouira demonstrates the vitality of the Gnawa music and the spirit of unifying an International event, which has risen to the rank of one of the biggest music festivals in the world.

Eclectic and unique formats

Instead of a series of concerts, the Gnawa Festival and World Music develops an art programme each year, drawing on the quality of its performances in a unique music format.

The musicians of the festival meet in Essaouira several days before to create a dialogue both musical and cultural, collaborating their art without constraint.

The opening of the concert will show the likes of Said Oughassal and Abdellah Akharraz of Casablanca and West African dance and singing. Also on the program: Latin-jazz with Abdelkebir Merchane, who trained in New York, the ‘mix up Morocco’ with Hassan Boussou and the electro rock trio from Marseilles, Nasser and Moroccan rapper Mobydick. Spirituality and Sufism will be led by Fareed Ayaz and Abu Mohammed of Pakistan. Finally the ambassador of fusion jazz Gnawa, Hamid El Kasri, will be accompanied by the Soweto Kinch Quartet and special guest Eska.

 Spontaneous and improvised shows will see artists like Abdeslam Alikane and Sylvain Luc Trio-Organic, Mustapha Baqbou, Bob Maghrib, Mohamed Kouyou and Mayara Band.

Essaouira will welcome artists of mixed genres including Oumou Sangare, who will delight the audience for the second time, Carlou D, a Senegalese musician and icon of the Hip-Hop scene in his country, Casablanca group Hoba Hoba, that will no doubt provide a colourful show, and finally the jazz trio led by German Joachim Kuhn with Majid Bekkas and Ramon Lopez.

Poetry, meetings and discussions

 The whole city will like usual be inhabited by the spirit of music and sharing, open discussions and more intimate musical gatherings will be held on the terrace of the Alliance Franco-Moroccan, on 22nd, 23rd and 24th of June, in the morning and afternoon. The forum, ‘companies moving crops from custody’ will be held on 21 and 22nd of June from 10am to 1pm, speakers and actors will meet in Essaouira on this occasion.


Finally all news and programming of the Festival can be be found in Made in Essaouira, in our agenda.


Text Alice Joundi
Photo Gnawa Festival in Essaouira