Gabacho Maroc: succesful 'premiere' in North America
Gabacho Maroc is one of the newest most exciting bands of world fusion of the moment. Formed by French drummer Vincent Thomas, this 8-piece band with musicians from Morocco, Algeria and France emerged in 2013 after various experiences as a jazz quintet. Contaminated by the heat of Morocco, the spirit of gnawa and the rhythms of Africa, they have since toured on 4 continents, playing almost 150 concerts inclusing 70 world/jazz music festivals. Their second album – Tawassol (connections)- will be released in the beginning of 2018 under the French label Cristal.
”When 8 French, Moroccan and Algerian musicians bang their bendirs, drums, keyboards, darbukas, riqs and djembes, clack their karkabus, scratch their guembris, blow their saxes, sing and dance onstage fusing Gnawa, Afro, Berber, trance, jazz and electronica, you discover a brand new musical world connecting the West to the desert!” Montreal Jazz
All started at Musikene, the Higher School of Music of the Basque Country, where Vincent Thomas was studying jazz. In those days, he was sharing a flat with another drummer, Nacho Megina, who asked him to join for a short stay in Morocco. They went to Essaouira, bought some records, got together with gnawa musicians, and there it was. Vincent was contaminated by the virus of Morocco, where he returned regularly to deep his knowledge of the various local types of music.
In the same period, he had formed a jazz quintet with other students from Musikene – Gabacho Connection featuring Charley Rose (alto sax), Willy Muñoz (keyboards), Eric Oxandaburru (bass), and Antonio Lizana (tenor sax). Vincent was somehow not completely satisfied with the result. The music was good and there was a good feeling with and between the members. However he was looking for a band that was able to go beyond the boundaries of classic jazz, make people feel good, move their feet and body, and celebrate the diversity of cultures. In brief, his idea was to combine the depth and musicality of jazz and the colorfulness, sparkle and energy of world music.
....TO WORLD MUSIC
At some point, the band decided to include musicians from Morocco. Musically, the experiment went quite well. However it was counting without the bureaucracy, which made difficult for those musicians to get visas for playing in Europe. In the end, the band went in touch with two musicians of Essaouira living and working in Europe. Gabacho Maroconnection was born in 2013, featuring the five members of Gabacho Connection and Hamid Moumen (vocals, guembri), Jawad Jadli (percussion, vocals), as well as Fred Faure (percussion, ngoni). After 40 dates in Spain and southern France, they went into the studio to record their debut album. Bissara was released under their own label – Label Oued – in September 2014.
Thanks to the album, a nice clip of the single Moussaoui that is included in the cd compilation ” The Rough Guide to the Best Arabic Music You’ve never Heard” (World Music Network, 2015), and a nomination at the All African Music Awards 2015, the band had finally what they needed to boost their career. Being good in promoting themselves and booking concert dates, they toured successfully Morocco, India and Latin America. In the beginning of 2016, they changed their name to Gabacho Maroc that was easier to use and remember.
Since then, the band has enthusiastically played on four continents. With a strong fanbase in Morocco, Spain, and Latin America, Gabacho Maroc is looking forward to reach new audiences in the West and the East. In July 2017, after an exciting tour in Morcco (Les Nuits du Ramadan) the band had its 'première' in North America, playing Montreal Jazz, Sunfest and Afrofest.
For pics and news from GM Canada Tour, check their Facebook page.
Eric E. van Monckhoven
- article submitted by:Eric van Monckhoven, Music4You