Essaouira celebrates the Gnaoua festival and its millennial heritage

On the occasion of Gnaoua and the World Music Festival, Afrique Hebdo has moved to Essaouira in Morocco. Since 1998, this festival has celebrated the uniqueness of Gnaoua music, its mixed origins, its therapeutic virtues and its increasingly daring fusions with international artists.

This 24th edition gathered almost 300,000 festival-goers during around forty concerts, notably with Selah Sue, Eliades Ochoa and Trio Joubran as headliners.

Gnaoua and the World Music Festival are a meeting of the Moroccan artistic scene with deep African roots. The event, often called “the Moroccan Woodstock”, was born in 1998 in the blue and white citadel of southern Morocco, Essaouira. This event gathers thousands of people every year who come to listen to Gnaoua music.

Long poorly perceived in the country, the gnaoua remained confined to the circles of the mystical brotherhoods. It has now gained international recognition, so that it has been recognized as an intangible heritage of humanity by Unesco.

Afrique Hebdo went to meet the group of African Amazons, maalem Hassan Boussou and Hind Ennaira, one of the rare female Gnaoua musicians.

Thanks to Neila Tazi, Malika El Kabbaj, Karima Hachimi, Bouchra Samsam and Magali Berges.

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