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University of Gnawa and Aziz Sahmaoui

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (12 Sept. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: General Pattern Distrib.
  • ASIN: B004TGQ7US
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 299,092 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
"Sahmaoui's exploration of the Gnawa Cosmos is some of the best gnawa you will hear... The trip of a lifetime."
Tim Cumming - The Independent

"Sahmaoui makes gnawa melodies sound like real songs, yearningly sung with starl and spacey electric arrangements."
Daily Telegraph

"Updates of ancient tradition come no classier than this innovative album from Morocco's Sahmaoui..."
Neil Spencer - The Observer

"There is not only passion aplenty but a lifetime of curiosity and learning on this debut album."
Andy Morgan - Songlines

"The album is an intoxicating affair, visceral and groove-centric yet also nuanced and multilayered."
Chris May - All about Jazz
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I really enjoy this album, now listening to it almost every day.
Unique, refreshing and thanks God - different from what is on the radio
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taking Gnawa Mainstream 25 Oct. 2013
By Dr. Debra Jan Bibel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Gnawa music traditionally accompanies trance rituals calling up spirits, which speaks of its sub-Saharan origins despite being indigenous to Muslim Morocco (as often occurs, there is a fusion of spiritual forms, and Muhammed and Islamic saints are evoked along with ancestors and African deities). Its normal instrumentation is simple: a gumbri (similar to Malian ngoni) lute for melody and, for rhythm, qraqeb metallic castanets and drums. Repetition and constancy of phrasing and rhythm supports the ecstatic experience. This album, however, is not traditional. It is as contemporary as tomorrow. Applying gnawa forms with modern arrangements and using a large variety of Western and African instruments, Aziz Sahmaoui and his "University of Gnawa" musicians have created a novel, fun, bright, exciting album. The package notes include the lyrics, written by Sahmaoui, in French, English, and Arabic. Across the tracks, we hear mandola, guitar, calabash, cachichi, piano, bendir frame drum, darbukha and tar drums, electronic keyboard, ngoni, kora harp, shaker, and bass. Not all songs are gnawa; a howara form with the same feeling is introduced in one piece, another track is a Malian Fulu dance, and a third piece uses traditional Moroccan singing style. Moreover, there is a cover of Joe Zawinul's "Black Market." Thus, music of the gnawa brotherhoods enters the popular medium transformed into global fusion. It works! The harmonies of voices, the colorful mixture of timbres, the power of the dance make this a joyous album. Recorded in Paris with great sound, 55 minutes.
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