MAWAZINE THE MAGNIFICENT
A visit to the biggest music festival in Morocco, and one of the biggest in the world. The tenth edition of Mawazine, in May, 2011, offered 10 days of music on 9 stages, including over 1800 artists, and millions of fans. Our program includes performances by Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), Amr Diab, Nass el Ghiwane, Mory Kante, Quincy Jones, Sonia Mbarak, Hindi Zarra, Souad Massi, Nasser Shamma, Hoba Hoba Spirit, and more.
LIVE FESTIVAL BLOGGING:
Report from Mawazine
Report from the Fest Festival of World Sacred Music
Geel pop singer Amr Diab is the most popular and best-selling singer in the Arab world. His sound is a mixture of Western pop with elements of traditional Egyptian and Mediterranean music, such as flamenco and raï.
One of the few female singers in the traditionally male-dominated genre of maluf, traditional Tunisian court music, Sonia M’Barek‘s haunting voice keeps Andalusian traditions alive.
Grammy award-winning American bassist and producer Victor Wooten, who plays with Béla Fleck and the Flecktones in addition to his solo career, was invited to play with Nass El-Ghiwane (see below) at this year’s Mawazine festival.
Nass El-Ghiwane (“New Dervishes”) started out in the ’60s as a bunch of neighborhood friends who made music to accompany an avant-garde theatre production. Their inventive and then-novel mix of different strains of Moroccan music and Western instruments elevated them to Rolling Stones-like status in their home country.
Musician, producer, and film composer Safy Boutella wrote the orchestral arrangements to accompany Nass El-Ghiwane at this year’s Mawazine.
Yusuf Islam, more commonly known as folk-rock icon Cat Stevens, quit music in the late ’70s, converted to Islam, and devoted his time to philanthrophy. He’s resumed his music career in recent years with some new releases.
Danyel Waro is a main propenent in the rennaissance of Mayola, a traditional-style of music from the Reunion Islands that incorprates elements from Madgascar and India. Untilizing various percussion instruments such as kayams, roulérs and pikérs, Wayo sings in creole about social and political issues tied in with dependence on France.
Naseer Shamma is a renowned Arab Iraqi musician and oud player. Studying under late Iraqi master Munir Bashir, Shamma attempts to create an idea and/or image through his music that is effectually alarming for the listener, playing off Bashir’s invented technique of contemplation with the oud.
Hindi Zahra is a Franco-Moroccan singer who sings in both English and Berber. A self-taught multi-instrumentalist, Zahra calls Billie Holiday as her main influence musically. Her music combines elements of pop with jazz and arabic folk.
Souad Massi is a Algerian singer/songwriter who plays guitar and sings in Algerian Arabic, French, English and Kabyle (Berber language). Her music often culls from American folk music from the ’60s. She is extremely popular in France and North Africa.
Tiken Jah Fakoly
Tiken Jah Fakoly is a roots-reggae star from the Ivory Coast. Fakoly’s lyrics often focus on social and political issues in the Ivory Coast caused by the political environment there. Fakoly has been living in exile quite some time now due to increased political instability in the region.
Quincy Jones approaches music in just about any way possible: as a composer, producer, arranjer, conductor and musician, navigating through various genres from jazz to soul, pop, hip-hop and even classical. Along his life, he played an important role in the developments of music on the second half of the 20th century collaborating with the biggest names in the industry such as Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles and many more.
Legendary singer and kora player Mory Kanté is a griot born in Guinea and the first African artist to sell a million singles with the electrifying “Y&eacut;k&eacut; Y&eacut;k&eacut;,” which topped the European charts in 1988. A student of traditional griot music, he’s crafted an ecletic style that accomodates influences like Congolese rumba, American funk and soul.
Hoba Hoba Spirit
Out of Casablanca, Hoba Hoba Spirit introduced a blend of punky, metal-tinged rock, reggae and rap that Morocco had never seen before 2003, when they surfaced. Their music has equal parts of singing and rapping expressing the concerns of young Moroccans.
Maalem Mustafa Baqbou
Maalem Mustafa Baqbou is a Moroccan sintir player and singer who plays Gnawa trance music. As a member of influentical Moroccan dance band “Jil Jilala,” Baqbou has recorded many albums and toured the world, popularizing the Gnawa culture.
Singer and pioneer of Egyptian shaabi music Ahmed Adawiya has been mentioned among the big names in Egyptian music’s golden age since the 70s, when he became hugely famous. Coming from the slums of Cairo, he sang about poverty and politics specializing in mawal (vocal improvisation).
Saharoui desert diva Saida Charaf covers a range of styles and stands out when in her deep-trance Saharoui mode. She has shared the stage with many world-renowned artists and took part in movie scores.