Gnawan vocals are structured in a call and response style, with the lyrics reflecting the conditions of slavery that the Gnawan people and their ancestors have overcome.
Joudour Sahara has begun expanding our programming to be more inclusive of traditional styles of music, and to be more inclusive of communities in the greater M'hamid region of southern Morocco. We've begun working with youth in the regional capital of Zagora, and traditional musician Aziz Boussetta who is working to transmit the traditional Ganga music style of the Gnawa tribe.
The Gnawan people historically were brought into Northern Africa as slaves centuries ago, and Gnawan music both sonically and lyrically reflects an enslaved history and their relationship with God.
Below (upper left picture), young students perform with the 'dendoun', the large barreled drum used in Ganga music. It creates a large booming bass sound that compliments the high tones of the hand-held 'krakesh' played simultaneously by the other Ganga musicians. The instrument pictured on the upper right is called the "Krakech" and is meant to mirror both the sound and imagery of chains used to enslave the Gnawan people.
On the lower left, the 'gimbre', a traditional three-stringed bass-like instrument.