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Destination Morocco podcast, next YouTube live Q&A:
New Time and Date! FRIDAY May 3rd, 1 pm PDT / 4 pm EDT
Episode 54: Live Gnaoua Music: Discover Morocco's Powerful Musical Heritage
Aired On : February 21, 2024

We conclude our cultural tour of Morocco with a performance of Gnaoua (also spelled Gnawa) music, recorded live on location at a Merzouga desert camp and at a Marrakech restaurant.

In between performances, Azdean sits down with Mohamed, a musician and member of the Gnaoua performers in Qser el Khamliya, a small village just south of Merzouga. Mohamed started playing when he was eight years old, and gives us some background on the roots of Gnawa music, created by slaves and nomads from Sub-Saharan countries. The music was meant to express the suffering of slaves and their longing for freedom, and evolved into a deep religious expression of the Muslim faith.

The contemporary Gnawa festivals in Essaouira and Merzouga stem from the agricultural rhythm of generations of harvests, the point where abundance and peace could be celebrated. Modern-day events typically coincide with Eid al-Adha celebrations that are timed with cycles of the moon, and take place roughly 11 days earlier in each subsequent year.

However, Gnaoua music and live performances are easy to find year-round in Morocco, particularly in the south. Our samples in this episode of both desert camps and urban restaurants are good examples of this. Your guide or riad owner will help you find the best locations to witness Gnaoua in person, don't hesitate to ask!

Khemliya, Merzouga

Ending Gnawa music recorded live at Safran Marrakech restaurant.

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With Appreciation, 
 Your Host 
Azdean Elmoustaquim
 Your friendly local Destination Morocco expert.

Check out our podcast, and join me on YouTube every second Wednesday of the month for our live Q&A session! 
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