Morocco is a mixture of the magical, the mystical and modern so it’s no surprise that Gnawa Nijoum Experience reflect this perfectly.
In a country where a huge city like Casablanca reverberates to the sound of deeply traditional and the constant blare of the modern- Gnawa Nijoum Experience ’s meltdown of Gnawa, dub, dubstep and hip hop with a mid period Clash style edge is mesmerizing.
The three piece band formed when young Gnawa musicians started jamming with DJ’s.
The three Moroccan musicians shut themselves up in the studio where the DJ operated and recorded a music mixing multi modern styles with Gnawa- the mesmerizing music of North Africa.
Gnawa, driven by the camel skinned bass the Guimbri that sounds like a warped double bass is the transcendental music of the nation. You can listen to this stuff for hours hooked on those Guimbri bass lines that lapse in and out of conventional time like a tripping double bass, aided by the hand cymbals called Karkabas: -a metal kind of castanet’s. It’s a stunning mix of sound that is both hypnotic and danceable.
Everywhere I went in Morocco I heard Gnawa and in the late night bars of Fes found cafes that had musicians playing it all night while we all sat around and drank mint tea- you don’t need to be stoned with this music- its fluidity and primal power does its own talking.
Boum Ba Clash take their own roots music and bang it up to date. Recognizing its versatility, they add the space of dub and the hypnotic pulse of trance- both of which slot into Gnawa perfectly adding to the musics ethereal power. Somehow there is also that sense of adventure that arrived in my own generation’s post punk meltdown and that defiant rebel spirit that defined the Clash in their Sandinista period.
You can feel the pulse of a 21st century Morocco in Gnawa Nijoum Experience ’s music that reinvents a timeless ancient sound with the modern.