Majid Bekkas - African Gnaoua Blues (2001)

«American continent is not the only place where descendants of black slaves make wonderful music. The Moroccan Gnawas are well known for their trance music and healing rituals. Their history spans more that 4 centuries. When the Moroccan army captured Timbuktu in 1591, several thousand men and women were brought north as slaves. Caravans were transporting unfortunate black Africans to the slave market of Marrakech. This lasted until 1912. "Tied in sacks they brought us, in the camel bags. And they sold us in the wool market. May God pardon them." Other Moroccans look at Gnawas with mixed curiosity and supremacy. Their music is linked to the sub-Saharan spiritual world. Their mournful singing, shattering rhythm of the metal castanets and bass-guitar like sound of guimbri make base for the all night lila rituals, which culminate in the exorcist session early in the morning.

Majid Bekkas was raised in a Gnawa family in Salé, on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. where he began playing the guimbri in healing ceremonies. Inspired by the traditional-pop fusion of the group Nass El Ghiwane in the '70s, he began to branch out, and never stopped. Playing guitar and guimbri and singing in a variety of styles, he has worked with popular, jazz and experimental musicians. Fours years ago he emerged as a talent in his own right.
His albums African Gnaoua Blues (Igloo, 2001) and Mogador (Igloo, 2004) show links both to the American bluesman John Lee Hooker and the Malian guitarist Ali Farka Touré. Bekkas is fascinated by the similarities between Gnawa and blues, both musical genres created by African slaves in a foreign cultural context. When an African musician hears black music from America, he notices kinship. He can play the same tune, but with a different feeling. A transcultural discharge occurs, soft blue notes cascading like summer lightning.
Resembling American blues, also Bekkas's songs have the power of personal statement. On stage, he switches guitar with the traditional Gnawa guimbri. A wooden flute and percussion complete very intimate soundscape. If you are looking for Taj Mahal with African charm, meet Majid Bekkas.» (Respectmusic.cz)

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cramm said...

i really thank you for this CD, i never could get enough ghembri.
Ever heard of Hamid el Gnawi? He also has wonderful stuff. unfortenately I only have some moroccan K7s of him under the title "Saha koyo"

Maestro said...

thanks, been diggin'


cheers, matt

Errol said...

thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Hi Radu

I came across your site and I must admit its such a fascinating place to be and I have never seen so many different tpes of Music from all around the world.AMAZING, TRULY AMAZING.
Is there any chances of getting this Majid Bekkas Album.



Radu said...



fromzero said...

jayawesome! thanks a whole bunch...i'd picked up this bootleg cd labeled festival d'essaouira when i was in morocco in 2004, no credits on it, had no clue who was singing..though i'd figured out the gnaoua's... it'd blown my mind then, and keeps on doing so..specially since i'd backpacked out into the wilderness and had to sleep over in a shepard's tent...and they played similar music...timeless, full of the enternity of deep space. now i know who's been singing/playing on that cd i have...would love some more bekkas/gnaoua.

comprar un yate said...

This won't really have success, I feel like this.