the press release
Gnaoua and World Music Festival
19th Edition – From 12 to 15 may in Essaouira
An edition recalling the magic of the past and the promises of the future!
Casablanca, Tuesday 12 April, 2016 - From 12 to 15 May 2016, the Essaouira Gnaoua and
World Music Festival will be back for its 19th edition paying tribute to the elders, to the
great who led the way while being mindful of the youth and the new upcoming generation.
Every year, the festival will be punctuated by fusions, residences, with an eclectic program
and a human rights forum getting deep rooted, all open to everyone.
This year, the Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival is coming back stronger and
more authentic than ever. From 12 to 15 May 2016, the tradewinds city Festival will first pay
tribute to the elders and prodigies of the city who departed too soon, Mahmoud Guinea
and Tayeb Saddiki. A tribute will also be paid to the great Doudou N’Diaye Rose, as the
sound of his drums still resonates in Essaouira 15 years after his first concert on Moroccan
land. «We have always defended Morocco’s African anchorage through this culture. 20 years
ago, no one really took us seriously. Our plea for Gnaoua, Essaouira and Africa fell on deaf
ears. Today’s events do confirm that this endeavour makes sense. And for that very reason,
along with the National Council of Human Rights we devote our forum to Africa for the 3rd
consecutive year « says Neila Tazi, Producer of the Festival.
Once more, the Festival offers this year a top notch jazz and world music program to music
lovers and to the hundreds of thousands of festival-goers faithful to this event endowed with
a unique ambiance.
From Gnaoua to jazz travelling through world music
The 19th edition of the Essaouira Gnaoua Festival and types of Music offers to live precious
moments of music through its various stages. From 12 to 15 May 2016, the entire city will
be inhabited by the Gnaoua music along with all types of world music. The celebrations
will begin with a tribute concert to the unforgettable Mahmoud Guinea and the Senegalese
percussionist Doudou N’Diaye Rose nicknamed «the rhythm magician.» Mokhtar, the brother
Mahmoud Guinea, will be joined by 12 percussionists Doudou’s children, for a fusion paying
tribute to the elders and to talented Africa, sublimated by the deep voice of the Sahara diva:
The festival will provide the opportunity to discover or rediscover the great names of jazz
music, artists that redefined jazz through their unique style, offering a smart vision based
on a specific culture, experience and need, from Randy Weston to Jamaaladeen Tacuma,
Christian Scott and Jeff Ballard Trio.
Randy and Gnaoua is a story in itself! He was the pioneer of the Gnaoua-jazz fusion with his
accomplice from Tangier Maâlem Abdullah El Gourd. Randy Weston has been composing
music for about sixty years now with a specific synthesis style of African music and American
jazz. Randy played with the greatest artists such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie or Thelonious
Monk, he has been able make comfortable room to Gnaoua in the jazz world.
Jamaaladeen Tacuma is a jazz-funk bassist legend, he accompanied Carlos Santana,
Ornette Coleman and Jeff Beck. Ornette Coleman said of him «Jamaaladeen is the master
of the sequence.» After Marcus Miller and Richard Bona to name just a few, the bass will
be once again one of the festival flagship instruments, and it is only natural in the world
of gembri! Neila Tazi, the Festival Producer, explains «this Festival is a real laboratory of
musical fusions and we are keen on keeping so. We protect such specificity and authenticity
which characterize this event giving it meaning and credibility. The stars of the Festival are
first and foremost Gnaoua».
The festival is also one of vanguard jazz and world music. It will welcome for the first time
in Morocco a rising star trumpeter Christian Scott. A genius of the trumpet not to be missed
under any circumstances.... Some ten years ago, the Gnaoua Festival made you discover
Ibrahim Maalouf, in this edition you will listen to Christian Scott!
You will also see the exciting Hoba Hoba Spirit who needs no introduction, and you will
discover in this same energetic vein Blitz the Ambassador. Originally from Ghana, heleads a
new musical trend, blending African sounds such as Highlife and Afrobeat, with a heavy and
original hip hop sound, Blitz The Ambassador not only transforms the musical landscape, but
brings a new voice to the world. Producer, composer, percussionist, video artist and lyricist,
Blitz redefines the human word. His music is also about immigrants who made America,
who shaped it. For him immigration is the link that connects the past to the present.
There is no better transition to recall one of the major get-togethers of the festival, the
Human Rights Forum to be held this year on the theme «African Diasporas: roots, mobility,
anchorages.» The fifth edition of this forum recalls Morocco’s attachment to his African
identity and invites a panel of distinguished speakers to take part in the meeting.
In parallel to the musical program, the city will live to the rhythm of art and culture. Tribute to
be paid to the elders will also be highlighted by the work of the talented artist Hassan Hajjaj
in an exhibition entitled «Colors of Gnaoua.» His work is the fruit of a quest of several years
and an encounter between the «Moroccan Andy Warhol» and Marouane Lbahja, born and
raised in the love and respect for the Gnaoua art and culture. The exhibition tells the unique
story of the tagnaouite in pictures. A rich story, told with simple words coming straight from
the heart, far from stereotypes and academic theories.
And the Festival will close with a tribute concert to Tayeb Sadiki a high profile witness to
the birth of bands that revolutionized Moroccan music during the 70s like Nass El Ghiwane,
Lamchaheb or Jil Jilala. This concert will be led by the founder of one of these mythical
bands Mohamed Derham who will be joined by Nabil El Khaldi, Sayed Omar and Mustapha
We will never repeat it enough, the Gnaoua are the inventors of Jazz, Africa is universal,
Morocco has got talent and the Gnaoua and World Music Festival a get-together not to be
Press contact : A3 Communication agency
Karima Hachimi – [email protected] - Phone : 06 61 90 26 73
Khadija Smiri – [email protected] - Phone : 06 60 87 93 35