This is the first cd I've posted, and it seems appropriate that the sounds on the disc should jar slightly with the digital age. This is Gnawa music (or Gnaoua), a hybrid sound that has evolved over many years, the product of the meetings of the musical and religious cultures of black africa with the musical and spiritual traditions of the Moroccan Berbers and Arabic Muslims. It is ritual music that is performed by Maleems, or master musicians who are able to use music to induce trance states and open up spaces for communication with the spirits of ancestors. It's a music of healing and protection that is based in traditions that have travelled North through Africa, constantly adapting to shifts in the cultural landscape, but always maintaining its central purpose...even through a cd player, this still has the ability to produce strange states.
Mahmoud Guenya is one of the better known Gnawa musicians. He has recorded with Pharoah Saunders on an album called The Trance of Seven Colours. This music isn't jazz fusion or anything frightening like that, so don't be scared to give it a go. The cd we've got here was picked up in Morocco and it's beautiful, deep contemplative music that still has an irresistable groove...the metal castanets that drive the rhythm cast a spell for sure.
Get it here.
Read some stuff about Gnawa here and here.