Hassan Hakmoun is one of the most notable figures in contemporary Moroccan music.
Though schooled in the deeply traditional sounds of the Gnawa people in his native Marrakesh, since moving to the U.S. in 1987, his music has absorbed elements from a variety of popular styles, from jazz and “world music” to neo-classical contemporary Western music and cerebral pop, resulting in a diverse, award-winning and critically acclaimed body of work. His participation in such internationally renowned arts festivals as WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) and collaborations with respected artists, including David Sanborn, Peter Gabriel, Don Cherry and The Kronos Quartet, among countless others, have brought him further into the spotlight and inspired many artists from North Africa and around the globe to follow in his footsteps.
As a master musician whose vision and contributions have enabled a unique fusion and blending of traditions, cultures and genres in a world of ever-expanding global communication and exchange, his work maintains its profound and enormous capacity to joyously inspire and heal the individuals and communities it reaches, as Hakmoun undoubtedly remains a commanding and intriguing artist in the world music scene.
Hakmoun’’s musical origins are rooted in the African folk music of the Islamic Gnawa sect, descendants from West African slaves brought to North Africa several hundred years ago. Their music combines complicated West African syncopations with long, sinuous North African melodies. Tracing their roots back to the Bilal, a freed slave known for his beautiful voice and believed to have been chosen by the Islamic prophet Mohammed to serve as the first muezzin to call the people of the faith to their prayers, Gnawa musicians often express their religious devotion through their music, using it to enter into spiritual trance states.
These rich, ancient Gnawa traditions have powerfully and intimately influenced Hakmoun’s early life and calling as a musician as his mother is a mystic healer known throughout Marrakesh for her derdeba trance ceremonies, often all-night affairs involving hypnotic playing and chanting to exorcise spirits. Steeped in Islamic mysticism and West African rhythms, the Gnawa musical form and its rituals lift the spirit and heal the sick and wounded through its songs of praise.
Hakmoun began learning Gnawa music after witnessing his first trance ceremony at the young age of four. Through a miraculous incident involving his younger sister, whose body was mysteriously touched by the spirit, covered in cigarette burns and then healed as a result of a meeting of the local Gnawa masters who proceeded to gather and conduct a ceremony of singing, drumming and playing instruments such as the sintir while asking for forgiveness and inquiring as to the cause of her ailments, Hakmoun proceeded to study percussion, as well as traditional trance-inducing dances.
He eventually chose the sintir as his main instrument, a three-stringed lute with a body made of camel skin stretched over nutwood. The strings of the sintir are pitched low, enabling the instrument to serve as the bass foundation much like the Western string bass, while its tone is sweet, making it well-suited to carry the melodic line of a composition. By drumming on the body of the instrument, Hakmoun added his own percussion while contributing vocals, thereby creating a unique foundation for his musical explorations and growth. By the age of fourteen, he was an established musician performing at Gnawa lila ceremonies with his own ensemble.
Hakmoun made his U.S. debut in 1987 at Lincoln Center in New York City with Etian and Blanca Lee’’s Trio Gna & Nomadas dance group … (taken from his website)
I guess this is very rare record by Hassan Boussou … I found no further informations in the internet (this is maybe a bootleg, I don´t know) … I bought it last week in Marrakesh at the Jamaa el Fna market:
Jamaa el Fna (also Jemaa el-Fnaa, Djema el-Fna or Djemaa el-Fnaa) is a square and market place in Marrakesh’s medina quarter (old city). It remains the main square of Marrakesh, used by locals and tourists.
And I guess, this were very erly recordings from the Eighties … unfortunatley the covers gives no more informations ..
So … listen to the magic of a real unique world of music …
Hassan Boussou (lute, vocals)
Marie le Baron et la troupe Boussou Ganga
01. Part 1 / 22.07
02. Part 2 / 36.51