Album cover art for upc 3415820000210
Catalog: C 560283


Since the end of the 19th century, the search to identify the origin of the Gnawa community and its ritual practices relied on a loose phonetic premise found in research devoted to the cult of North African saints and the slave trade in Islamic regions. Maurice Delafosse (1870-1926) had speculated that the Berber expression akal-n-iguinaouen (“land of the Blacks”) could have given rise to the words “Guinea” and “Gnawa” by phonetic similarity and that “Gnawa” could therefore mean a “black” person, or someone “from the land of the Blacks”. In the absence of conclusive historical data, this phonetic relationship gave rise to the hypothetical Sub-Saharan origin of the Gnawa and their rituals. Contemporary researchers now admit that identifying the origin of this people from a word is unreasonable today, especially since the Gnawa of Morocco are not all black, Arab or Muslim. They also co-exist in Berber and Jewish communities. According to new evidence, the Gnawa have been Moroccan for generations and are not all descendants of slaves. The Gnawa of Morocco have a very rich ritual and symbolic tradition which is performed notably in lila. This album is devoted to the third phase of these ritual nights –the Mlouk (“the possessors”)– and offers a sample of an ecstatic moment of the lila when, moving through the seven colours, the maâlem and the community around him occupy the sanctified space.

Price: $22.99