Gnaoua and World Music Festival of Essaouira : The great return!

Gnaoua music lovers will share exceptional moments in the city of trade winds on the occasion of the 24th edition of the Gnaoua and World Music Festival of Essaouira scheduled from 22 to 24 June 2023. “The Festival promises, as every year, real moments of grace between fusion concerts, intimate lilacs, improvised jam sessions and great debates of ideas. With its traditional opening parade, forty concerts spread between the stage Moulay Hassan Square and the beach, the more intimate evenings in the zaouias and Borj Bab Marrakech and the Forum of Human Rights, the festival returns in its customary version, “say the organizers. And to explain: “If the global crisis has forced us to postpone the festival for three consecutive years, it has not managed to stop our momentum and our determination. The festival team explains that the Gnaoua and World Music Festival of Essaouira is fed by passion and perseverance. “Today more than ever, the preparation of this 24th edition proves that this spirit of resilience has never left us,” said Neila Tazi, producer and founder of the festival. The same source notes that, after two years of silence imposed by the health crisis, the team of the Gnaoua Festival and World Music Essaouira and the Association Yerma Gnaoua were keen to honor the Maâlems Gnaoua and the inclusion of their art in the intangible heritage of humanity of UNESCO, by organizing a historic concert with more than 115 musicians on stage and broadcast by the channel Al Aoula December 25, 2021. While recalling that in 2022, it is a masterful tour, under the sign of fusion, which took the Maâlems in four cities of the Kingdom. They were accompanied by great international musicians, such as old Farka Touré, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Piers Faccini or Avishai Cohen.

Festival of Essaouira will once again celebrate the richness and diversity of Gnaoua music and many other forms of world music. The sounds of the guembri and crotales omnipresent will mix 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 the opening concert that promises to be explosive, with the meeting between the troupe Tambours du Brurundi Amagaba, the American saxophonist Jaleel Shaw, the Moroccan singer Sanaa Marahati and the Maâlems Mohamed and Saïd Kouyou. Since its creation in 1998, the Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival has become one of the major cultural events in Morocco and on the continent. With a sharp but coherent and accessible program, the festival attracts each year thousands of visitors from all over the world, but also many artists and intellectuals. Carried by its original philosophy, its spirit of sharing and discovery, the festival is a unique experience, both spiritual and artistic.

Festival of Essaouira is also an opportunity to initiate major debates. This year, the forum will focus on “Identities and belonging”. “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 meet in Essaouira to defend and reinvent a more united world,” explain the initiators. The festival is also proud to present music workshops for young and old, to discover and learn about 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 looking forward to welcoming its faithful music lovers and visitors from Morocco and abroad for this new edition and to offer them a unique cultural experience.

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