Stories » Snarky Puppy celebrates African roots at Morocco's Gnaoua World Music Festival / euronews

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Snarky Puppy celebrates African roots at Morocco's Gnaoua World Music Festival / euronews

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The 21st annual Gnaoua World Music Festival has again taken place in the otherwise sleepy fishing port of Essaouira on Morocco's Atlantic coast, attracting almost half a million visitors to the North African country's biggest summer festival. Gnaoua is a North African repertoire of ancient African spiritual religious songs and rhythms considered by many to be the roots of jazz, blues, R&B and rock music. Its songs and rhythms, are a mixture of Islamic Sufist and pre-Islamic African music and are intended to send its listeners into a trance.

Apart from traditional songs, music and dance, the festival provides a melting pot between foreign artists and the mystical Gnaoua musicians. In recent years the festival has been fused together with other popular genres including jazz, blues, reggae and hip-hop. American jazz fusion band Snarky Puppy, who are three times Grammy award-winners, and Maâhlem Hamid El Kasri, who has been into the Gnaoua culture since he was seven and is considered to be one of the best, performed together on stage in just one of many cross-cultural collaborations at this year's festival. 

Michael League, Snarky Puppy's bass player and band leader, said the musical collaboration was an exciting experience for the whole band. "Oh my God, man, he taught all of us a lot, you know everyone in the band …their heads are Gnaoui, you know – learning, growing from this experience, it has been really beautiful," he told Euronews.

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