Monday, 4 February 2008

Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival 2008 June 26-29

Update: Line-up posted - see my post dated May 31

For the past few years, the Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music festival ended on Sunday with a big concert in the afternoon at Place Bab Marrakech. Last year, 2007, was different - things started a little earlier in the week and the whole thing ended on Saturday night. Not sure I liked it this way. Sunday just seemed a little flat this year. I had heard that they were tryng to restore the town to some sort of normality a little sooner, or maybe it was just because 2007 was the 10th anniversary.

Anyway, according to the festival website, the 2008 festival will run from Thursday June 26 to Sunday June 29, so, if you haven't done so yet, start to make your plans, book your flights and hotels.

While I'm talking, its worth visting the festival site, just to hear the great Maalem Hamid El Kasri singing that old gnaoua favourite - Chalaba.

If you'd like a taste of Gnaoua and world music, why not listen to some of my recordings from the 2007 Essaouira festival.

Should you be planning to visit Essaouira for the festival this year, be sure to take a walk up the Avenue Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdallah and stop in at Bob Music, at 3, Derb Youssef Ben Tachafine. Abderrahim OUBELLA, who runs the shop, has just about every Morrocan and sub-saharan musical instrument and he knows how to play them all. Tell him John Gnaoua sent you.


No official lineup has been posted yet - last year these didn't appear until late April/May - but I think we can rest assured that the festival team will put on a great show for us all. In the meantime, I will keep this post updated with names of artists expected to attend, based on other sources of information.

  • Juldeh Camara - One of my Myspace Friends - includes Essaouira 2008 in his list of gigs for this year. Take a listen to some of his music on his MySpace profile. Juldeh sings and plays the riti (nyanyeru), a traditional one-stringed fiddle originating from the nomadic Fulani cultures of the Sahel. I'm looking forward to hear how this sounds when fused with some gnaoua.

  • A rumour is spreading on Facebook that Stephen Marley, one of Bob Marley's sons, will appear. Let's hope that there is some truth in this, but as yet, there's no evidence. Update June 1:Funny thing about rumours is that there's often some truth in them. Fact is Ky-Mani Marley, not Stephen, will be playing Essaouira this year.


  1. Your links are hacked or something.
    It only redirects to a annonymous hotel, buy this and that website in maroc.
    Just so you know.

  2. I haven't seen any evidence of this, myself, but if anyone else notices this, or other problems with the site, please let me know.

    Anonymous: maybe you had some problems with a local dns server?