The Gnawa are descendants of slaves, brought across the Sahara by the Arabs, who claim spiritual descent from Sidi Bilal, the first muezzin. Their musical rites (lilas), in which a leader plays the gimbri / sentir (long-necked lute) and sings, accompanied by garagb (metal castanets), last all night and are performed for the purpose of spiritual and the music, which has sub-Saharan origins, is remarkably adaptable, having been blended with jazz, rock, funk, hip-hop and drum’n’bass.
The traditions of music are very much alive in the regions near the desert. Children are born already impregnated with the music that rises up every night in the tempo of drums to the star filled canopy above.
The Djembe, Darbuka and other Tam-Tam accompany songs about the life of the desert and sometimes push you to want to dance. From an early age children are introduced to this traditional music and young people spend the greater part of their evenings over tea between conversations and songs and learning to play the different instruments. For them it all comes naturally. It is part of the life and the fabric of this land. It is their heritage and their birthright.
We at Morocco Gnawa Tours were some of those children, the music is within us all and we love to share it. Our workshops are for people who want to learn to play our instruments and experience the emotion and spirituality that it brings. Learn how they are made and their history. Learn about local folk music and tribes.
We have different programs for our clients, contact us to find out more information. If you wish to come for a few days or much longer we have something to suit everyone. We can plan an itinerary with you specific to your wishes. Just send us an email and we will work with you. Families and organizations welcome.
DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN MARRAKECH
Meeting at the airport, transfer to hotel. Free time to visit the medina of Marrakech and the central area with the largest mosque Koutoubia. Evening walk in the Moroccan market, where you can hear the catchy rhythms and songs of the traditional music of Morocco. Bed and breakfast.
DAY 2: THE HIGH ATLAS MOUNTAINS – PASS TIZI N’TIСHKA – AIT BENHADDOU
After breakfast the journey begins through the unforgettable scenery of the High Atlas, with a visit to the highest mountain pass in the high Atlas, Tizi n´Tiсhka. Then we continue to Ait Benhaddou – a city fortress in the desert, like a mirage. There have been many famous movies filmed here like Mummy, Gladiator, Alexander, Prince of Persia. Accommodation. Evening – ethnic music Gnawa, where you start to learn how to play on the African drums (djembe). Dinner and breakfast.
DAY 3: AIT BENHADDOU – DADES VALLEY – TODRA GORGE – SAHARA DESERT
After breakfast departure from Ait Benhaddou. Next, travel through the picturesque valley of the Dades and a visit to Todra Gorge. In the afternoon arrive in Merzouga (Sahara desert). Accommodation, dinner. Music Gnawa. Lessons are held in the unforgettable dunes of Erg Chebbi. Practical Music Seminar: “Basic percussive rhythms of Africa and Morocco.” Dinner and Breakfast.
DAY 4: MERZOUGA – ROSES VALLEY – OUARZAZATE – AIT BENHADDOU
After breakfast in Merzouga. Visiting Khamlia – familiarity with the traditional music of Morocco. Travel to the Valley of the Roses and the amazing city of Skoura palm grove. Visiting the Kasbah Amridil, then continue to the city of Ouarzazate and finally Ait Benhaddou. A night of music and Berber tattoos that are created with the help of the ancient art of henna. Accommodation, dinner and breakfast.
DAY 5: AIT BENHADDOU – MARRAKECH
Return to Marrakech. Free time for rest, walking and shopping, seeing amazing traditional things, jewellery and Moroccan musical instruments. Bed and breakfast.
DAY 6: TRANSFER TO THE AIRPORT
Breakfast. Transfer to the airport.