The Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival returns from June 22 to 24, promising, as every year, real moments of grace between fusion concerts, intimate Lilas, improvised jam sessions and great debates of ideas.
Thus, the rhythms of the world will take over this 24th edition, which will mark the great return of the Festival in its usual format, indicate the organizers in a press release, underlining that the musicians of the world will find themselves once again in the City of Trade Winds, at the invitation of their fellow Maâlems Gnaoua from Morocco.
With its traditional opening parade, around forty concerts divided between the stage at Place Moulay Hassan and the stage on the beach, more intimate evenings in the Zaouias and Borj Bab Marrakech, and the Human Rights Forum, the festival comes back in its usual version.
“While the global crisis forced us to postpone the festival for three consecutive years, it did not succeed in stopping our momentum or our determination. The Gnaoua and World Music Festival of Essaouira is nourished by passion and perseverance”, underlines Neila Tazi, producer and founder of the Festival, quoted in the press release, adding that “today, more than ever, the preparation of this 24th edition proves that this spirit of resilience has never left us”.
Indeed, after two years of heavy silence, imposed by the health crisis, the team of the Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival and the Yerma Gnaoua association wanted to honor the Gnaoua Maâlems and to include their art in the intangible heritage of humanity of UNESCO, by organizing a historic concert bringing together more than 115 musicians on stage and broadcast by the channel “Al Aoula”, on December 25, 2021, notes the same source.
And to continue that in 2022, it is a masterful tour, under the sign of fusion, which took the Maâlems to four cities of the Kingdom. The latter were accompanied by great international musicians, like Vieux Farka Touré, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Piers Faccini and Avishai Cohen.
From June 22 to 24, 2023, the Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival therefore intends to celebrate once again the richness and diversity of Gnaoua music and many other forms of world music, note the organizers, adding that the sounds of guembri and ubiquitous rattlesnakes will mingle with the sounds of jazz in all its diversity, Flamenco, Reggae, Salsa or even Tuareg or Tamil rhythms.
The public will have an appointment with beautiful fusions, the first of which will be that of the opening concert which promises to be explosive, with the meeting between the Troupe Tambours du Burundi Amagaba, the American saxophonist Jaleel Shaw, the Moroccan singer Sanaa Marahati, and the Maâlems Mohamed and Saïd Kouyou, specifies the press release.
Since its creation in 1998, the Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival has established itself as one of the major cultural events in Morocco and the continent. With a sharp but coherent and accessible program, the festival attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world each year, but also a large number of artists and intellectuals. Driven by its original philosophy, its spirit of sharing and discovery, the festival is a unique experience that is both spiritual and artistic.
This cultural event is also an opportunity to initiate major debates. This year, the forum will focus on the theme “Identities and affiliations”.
A hot topic in a world crossed by identity tensions and the refusal of otherness. Artists, intellectuals and thinkers, political, associative and cultural actors from around the world will thus meet in Essaouira to defend and reinvent a more united world.
The festival is also proud to present music workshops for young and old, to discover and learn Gnaoua music, its instruments, its rhythms and its history.
This is a unique opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in Moroccan culture and learn more about the country’s musical heritage.
The Gnaoua and World Music Festival of Essaouira is eager to welcome for this new edition its faithful music lovers and visitors, from Morocco and elsewhere, and offer them a unique cultural experience.