Radio France | JAZZ /OTRAS MUSICAS (1 CD)

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16,95 €

Gnawa and World Music Festival

REF.: C560283
EAN 13: 3415820000210

Since the end of the 19th century, the search to identify the origin of the Gnawa community and its ritual practices relied on a loose phonetic premise found in research devoted to the cult of North African saints and the slave trade in Islamic regions. Maurice Delafosse (1870-1926) had speculated that the Berber expression akal-n-iguinaouen (“land of the Blacks”) could have given rise to the words “Guinea” and “Gnawa” by phonetic similarity and that “Gnawa” could therefore mean a “black” person, or someone “from the land of the Blacks”. In the absence of conclusive historical data, this phonetic relationship gave rise to the hypothetical Sub-Saharan origin of the Gnawa and their rituals. Contemporary researchers now admit that identifying the origin of this people from a word is unreasonable today, especially since the Gnawa of Morocco are not all black, Arab or Muslim. They also co-exist in Berber and Jewish communities. According to new evidence, the Gnawa have been Moroccan for generations and are not all descendants of slaves. The Gnawa of Morocco have a very rich ritual and symbolic tradition which is performed notably in lila. This CD is devoted to the third phase of these ritual nights –the Mlouk (“the possessors”)– and offers a sample of an ecstatic moment of the lila when, moving through the seven colours, the maâlem and the community around him occupy the sanctified space.


Asma Hamzaoui
Bnat Tombouctou
Maâlem Saïd Oughassal
Maâlem Aziz Baqbou

Acknowledgements :
Yerma Gnaoua Association & Gnawa and World Music Festival of Essaouira; Neila Tazi (founder of the Gnawa and World Music Festival and deputy chairman of the Yerma Gnaoua Association); Abdeslam Alikkane (chairman of the Yerma Gnaoua Association) / Asma Hamzaoui & Bnat Tombouctou; maâlem Saïd Oughassal; maâlem Aziz Baqbou (Gnawa musicians) / Ahmed Aydoun; Abdelhay Diouri; Khalid Chegraoui (text) / Françoise Degeorges; Hervé Riesen; Olivier Zegna-Rata (Radio France). Photographs (copyright Gnawa and World Music Festival): Sifeddine El Amine; Sabir El Mouakil. Coordination: Karima Hachimi and Fouzia Saoudi (Gnawa and World Music Festival).

The Songs of Gnawa Music

Al Âda

The lila (ritual night) of the Gnawa begins with a long introduction called al Âda (lit. “the custom”). This first part begins with a procession through streets of the city before assembling in the entrance of the house where the lila is to be held. It is also called ad Dakhla (“the entrance”). Essentially rhythmic, al Âda mostly features the tbal (large drum) and the qraqeb (iron castanets); sometimes a few dances are also performed.

Oulad Bambara and Noukcha
The second part of the lila, called oulad Bambara (the sons of Bambara), is both playful and an occasion to invoke ancestors and former masters. The Noukcha (or Noughcha) which follows is an intermediary link between the second and the third phase and switches from a playful, profane atmosphere to a sacred atmosphere marked by fumigations and the symbolic use of colours   

The Mlouk
The third phase, the Mlouk (“the possessors”), is the longest, unfolding with the obligatory evoking of the seven colours. The ecstatic moment of the lila begins as the maâlem and the assembly enter the sanctified space (Ftouh rahba). After the colour white, two shades of blue follow: navy blue (Moussawiyyine or Bahriyyine) and sky blue (Smawiyyine). The first blue is placed under the protection of Sidi Moussa Al Bahri. The second blue is consecrated to a mix of African ancestors and Muslim saints. For the blood-coloured reds (Houmer), the central personage is Sidi Hammou. The greens (Khodder) are the colour reserved for Muslim saints. The black colours (Lkouhel or Rijal Al Ghaba) are the most tenacious Mlouk and the final colour of the repertoire is dedicated to women, “Labnat”, with a predominance of yellow.

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