he word « Gnawa » is probably a phonetic transformation of the words «
Guinean » and « black African » placed side by side. A referral to slaves
deported from the Sudanese empire at the 16th century under the reign of
Moroccan sultans Ahmed El Mansour and Moulay Ismaël.
Formed as a brotherhood "zaouia", the Gnawa carry on practicing their rites
following codes well structured around liturgical songs and ecstatic dances.
The Gnawa are also healers. They conduct "Lilas" (ritual nights) where
participants as actors and dancers free themselves and enter a kind of
trance in a cathartic logic.
Today, thanks to artists of international renown like Randy Wetson, Led
Zeppelin, Sapho...the Gnawa are know all around the globe. They perform in
festivals, cultural centres and open their repertoire to other musical
obedience seeking fusion.
Amongst the Gnawa artists of the Moroccan realm, a Mâalem masters and
respects the aesthetic, cosmic and ritualistic values of this North African
culture. Mâalem Mahjoub is acknowledged by the elders, he is generous, open
to the outside world and acclaimed by all the trance followers in his
Mahjoub is also known on the European scene for his stage performances. His
great heart inexorably leads him to get close to people and to take them
through his shows towards a brotherly communion.
I know most of the discographic productions of the Gnawa; this present
recording is, in my opinion, a masterpiece recorded live in a studio just as
in a Lila without the least post recording or studio effect. Authentic…