In a Gnawa song, one phrase or a few lines are repeated over and over throughout a particular song though the song may last a long time. In fact, a song may last several hours non-stop. The norm, though, is that what seems to the unintiniated to be one long song is actually a series of chants, which has to do with describing the various spirits (in Arabic mlouk (sing. melk)), so what seems to be a 20 minute piece may be a whole series of pieces, a suite for Sidi Moussa, Sidi Hamou, Sidi Mimoun or the others. But because they are suited for adepts in a state of trance, they go on and on, and have the effect, that they provoke trance from different angles.
The melodic language of the stringed instrument is closely related to their vocal music and to their speech patterns, as is the case in much African music. It is a language that emphasizes on the tonic and fifth, with quavering pitch-play, especially pitch-flattening, around the third, the fifth, and sometimes the seventh. This is the language of the blues.
krakebs or Qraqab
Gnawa music is characterized by instrumentation. The large heavy iron castanets known as qraqab (or krakebs large iron castanets; Ar. ?????) and a three -string lute known commonly as a hajhuj (or gimbri) are central to Gnawa music.(Schuyler, 2008) The rhythms of the Gnawa, like their instrumentations are distinctive. Particularly Gnawa is characterized by interplay between triple and duple meters. The “big bass drums” mentioned by Schuyler are not typically featured in a more traditional setting. (Schaefer, 2005)
Gnawa have venerable stringed-instrument traditions involving both bowed lutes like the gogo and plucked lutes like the gimbri (Ar. ?????; also called hajhuj, Ar. ????? or "sentir" Ar. ?????), a three-stringed bass instrument. The Gnawa also use large drums called tbel (Ar. ??? ) in their ritual music. The Gnawa hajhuj has strong historical and musical links to West African lutes like the Hausa halam, a direct ancestor of the banjo.
Gnawa hajhuj players use a technique which 19th century American minstrel banjo instruction manuals identify as "brushless drop-thumb frailing". The "brushless" part means the fingers do not brush several strings at once to make chords. Instead, the thumb drops repeatedly in a hypnotically rhythmic pattern against the freely-vibrating bass string producing a throbbing drone, while the first two or three fingers of the same (right) hand pick out, often percussive patterns in a drum-like, almost telegraphic manner.
In this Torrent:
Mostly Gnawa music, with a few other west African selections. All album art and almost all liner notes are present. mp3 bit rate ranges from 128-320, CBR and VBR.
Artist – Albums:
10eme Festival Gnaoua Et Musique Du Monde D'Essaouira, 2007
Altaf Gnawa Group – Gnawa, Music from Morocco
El Maallem Mahmoud Gania - Gnawa Essaouira
Gbaya Music • Songs For Reflection
Genawa Boys - Pigeons du Sable, Gnawa Chants from Morocco
Gnawa Bambara - Sidi Mimoun
Gnawa Home Songs
Gnawa Night Spirit Masters
Hassan Hakmoun - Gift of the Gnawa
Hasan Hakmoun - Life Around The World
The Fire Within_ Gnawa Music Of Morocco
Maalem Si Mohamed Chaouqi - Les Gnawa Du Maroc - Ouled El Abdi
Mahmoud Guenya – Aicha
Maleem Abdelah Ghania - Invocation_ Gnawa Music Of Essaouira
Mali - Ce?re?monies rituelles des Dogon
Mali - Musique Bambara du Baninko
Mustapha Baqbou - Gnawa Trance Music of Morocco
Nass Marrakech - Bouderbala
Sabil 'a Salaam
Songs & Rhythms of Morocco
The Splendid Master Gnawa Musicians Of Morocco & Randy Weston
Tyour Gnawa Avec Lamallam Abdesslam Alikane – Loujba
World of Gnawa
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More about Gnawa:
Gnawas perform a complex liturgy, called lila or derdeba. The ceremony recreates the first sacrifice and the genesis of the universe by the evocation of the seven main manifestations of the divine demiurgic activity. It calls the seven saints and supernatural entities (mluk, Arabic: ????) represented by seven colors, as a prismatic decomposition of the original light/energy. The derdeba is jointly animated by a maâlem (master musician) at the head of his troop and by moqadma or shuwafa (clairvoyante) who is in charge of the accessories and clothing necessary to the ritual.
During the ceremony, the clairvoyante determines the accessories and clothing as it becomes ritually necessary. Meanwhile, the maâlem, using the guembri and by burning incense, calls the saints and the supernatural entities to present themselves in order to take possession of the followers, who devote themselves to ecstatic dancing.
Inside the brotherhood, each group (zriba; Arabic: ?????) gets together with an initiatory moqadma (Arabic: ?????), the priestess that leads the ecstatic dance called the jedba (Arabic: ????), and with the maâlem, who is accompanied by several players of krakebs.
Preceded by an animal sacrifice that assures the presence of the spirits, the all-night ritual begins with an opening that consecrates the space, the aâda ("habit" or traditional norm; Arabic: ????), during which the musicians perform a swirling acrobatic dance, playing the krakebs.
The mluk (sing. melk) are abstract entities that gather a number of similar jinn (genie spirits). The participants enter a trance state (jedba) in which they may perform spectacular dances. By means of these dances, participants negotiate their relationships with the mluk either placating them if they have been offended or strengthening an existing relationship. The mluk are evoked by seven musical patterns, seven melodic and rhythmic cells, who set up the seven suites that form the repertoire of dance and music of the Gnawa ritual. During these seven suites, seven different types of incense are burned and the dancers are covered by veils of seven different colours.
Each one of the seven families of mluk is populated by many "characters" identifiable by the music and by the footsteps of the dance. Each melk is accompanied by its specific colour, incense, rhythm and dance. These entities, treated like "presences" (called hadra, Arabic: ????) that the consciousness meets in ecstatic space and time, are related to mental complexes, human characters, and behaviors. The aim of the ritual is to reintegrate and to balance the main powers of the human body, made by the same energy that supports the perceptible phenomena and divine creative activity.
Later, the guembri opens the treq ("path," Arabic: ????), the strictly encoded sequence of the ritual repertoire of music, dances, colors and incenses, that guide in the ecstatic trip across the realms of the seven mluk, until the renaissance in the common world, at the first lights of dawn.
Almost all Moroccan brotherhoods, such as the Issawa or the Hamadsha, relate their spiritual authority to a saint. The ceremonies begin by reciting that saint's written works or spiritual prescriptions (hizb, Arabic: ???) in Arabic. In this way, they assert their role as the spiritual descendants of the founder, giving themselves the authority to perform the ritual. Gnawa, whose ancestors were neither literate nor native speakers of Arabic, begin the lila by bringing back, through song and dance their origins, the experiences of their slave ancestors, and ultimately redemption.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the article about music, refer to Gnawa music
Gnawas circa 1920s
Gnawa or Gnaoua (Arabic alphabet: ?????) refers to an ethnic group and a Sufi religious order in Morocco, in part descended from former slaves from Sub-Saharan Africa or black Africans who migrated in caravans with the trans-Saharan trade, or a combination of both.
The name appears to originate from the Saharan Berber dialect word aguinaw (or agenaou) (Arabic: ?????), meaning "black (men)". This word in turn is possibly derived from the name of a city significant in the 11th century, in what is now western Mali, called Gana, in Arabic Ghana or Jenna and in Portuguese and later French Guinea or Jenné.
The Gnawa population is generally believed to originate from the Sahelian region of West and Central Africa, which had long and extensive trading and political ties with the Maghreb and Algeria specifically, including gold and slave trades.
Popular history particularly credits the Moroccan Sultan Ahmed Al Mansour Ad-Dahbi's conquest in 1591 of part of the Songhai Empire, in particular Timbuktu, with bringing large numbers of captives and slaves back across the Sahara to form the Gnawa. However, the slave and gold trade with sub-Saharan African states had existed for centuries prior to al-Mansur's conquest, and it is unlikely the Gnawa community was in fact formed from one invasion but rather over centuries.
While adopting Islam, Gnawa continued to celebrate ritual possession during rituals where they are devoted to the practice of the dances of possession and fright. This rite of possession is called Jedba (Arabic: ????), and proceeds the night (laila, Arabic: ????) that is animated jointly by a master musician (maâlem, Arabic: ????) accompanied by his troupe. Gnawa music mixes classical Islamic Sufism with pre-Islamic African traditions, whether local or sub-Saharan.
Many modern Western scholars see parallels between African American music such as the blues, that is rooted in Black American slave songs, and Gnawa music as well as Sufi tariqa. This influence also resonates from other spiritual sub-Saharan black groups such as the Bori in Nigeria, the Stambouli in Tunisia, the Sambani in Libya, the Bilali in Algeria and those outside Africa such as the Voodoo religion or the Candomble in Brazil. These similarities in the artistic and scriptural representations are seen by such scholars as reflecting a shared experience of many African diasporic groups.
Gnawa and music
Main article: Gnawa music
The term Gnawa musicians generally refers to people who also practice healing rituals, with apparent ties to pre-Islamic African animism rites. In Moroccan popular culture, Gnawas, through their ceremonies, are considered to be experts in the magical treatment of scorpion stings and psychic disorders. They heal diseases by the use of colors, condensed cultural imagery, perfumes and fright.
Gnawas play deeply hypnotic trance music, marked by low-toned, rhythmic sintir melodies, call-and-response singing, hand clapping and cymbals called krakeb (plural of karkaba). Gnawa ceremonies use music and dance to evoke ancestral saints who can drive out evil, cure psychological ills, or remedy scorpion stings.
Gnawa music has won an international profile and appeal. Many Western musicians including Bill Laswell, Randy Weston, Adam Rudolph, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, have drawn on and collaborated with Gnawa musicians. Some traditionalists regard modern collaborations as a mixed blessing, leaving or modifying sacred traditions for more explicitly commercial goals. International recording artists such as Hassan Hakmoun have introduced Gnawa music and dance to Western audiences through their recordings and concert performances.
The centre for Gnawa music is Essaouira in the South of Morocco where the Gnaoua World Music Festival is held annually. The Gnawa of Marrakesh hold their annual festival at the sanctuary of Moulay Brahim in the Atlas Mountains.