African Music Encyclopedia

 

Hassan Hakmoun

 

photo of Hassan Hakmoun

Hassan Hakmoun, originally from Morocco, is currently a New York-based musician who will take you for a sizzling foray into the mysterious world of the Gnawa. Former slaves originally from the Sudan who travelled to Morocco and converted to Islam, the Gnawa people of Morocco serve as intermediaries in the spirit world and also as entertainers. Hassan was raised in Marrakech and began to study the healing rituals of tagnawit, the Gnawa-related arts and lore, at a young age. His travels led him to Europe and the U.S. and eventually to participate in several WOMAD tours, recordings with his fusion group Zahar and work with Peter Gabriel. The Fire Within is Hassan's first traditional-based musical project, featuring the sintir, a three-stringed bass lute. Clear, balanced melodies and driving, syncopated rhythms make the music appealing to Western listeners. Several of the songs on this recording are taken from different parts of the derdeba, a trance ritual held to placate spirits that inhabit people or places. Deeply entrancing, The Fire Within hit the European world music charts within a week of it's release. (MOTW135 CD only)


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