Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Essaouira Report: Gnawa Musicians

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy -All Rights Reserved

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy -All Rights Reserved

I've just been able to photograph and audio record a couple of rehearsals of musical bands and dancers in the medina of Essaouira through the persistent assistant of our fixer, Hassan. Normally, attending and photographing these rehearsals require special permits and press passes.

The first rehearsal was at a riad (small typical hotel) in the center of the medina, where I photographed the amazing Brazilian dance trio Afoxe Loni, along with the legendary Gnawa Maalem Mahmood Guinea.

The second rehearsal was at an arts center, also in the medina, where I photographed the incredibly talented Maalem Abdel Rehim Ben Thami, accompanied by the Trio Amrat, Hussein and Foulani.

What I saw augurs well for the quality of the talent which will be seen by the public at the Gnawa Festival tomorrow night.