Innov Gnawa: The Sound of Morocco’s Underground

April 24, 2018admin



Morocco is more than a popular destination for Instagram travelers. It’s the backdrop for some of the most vibrant traditions around. From flavorful dishes to intricately crafted architecture, it’s an inspiring sensory overload to say the least. But we don’t get to experience the alternative sides of these places we might think we know well. See, Morocco too has a deeply rich underground scene. And it’s best portrayed in the sounds of the critically-acclaimed NYC musical collective Innov Gnawa.

History in Sounds.

Moroccan music is much deeper than the usual Arab-influenced sounds you might hear as a soundtrack to a bustling bazaar in the movies. In fact, much like everywhere else, it too has been affected by migrating cultures and globalization. Gnawa music is the ritual trance music of Morocco’s black communities. Often called “The Moroccan Blues”, it’s originally descended from slaves and soldiers once brought to Morocco from Northern Mali and Mauritania. The result is nothing like you’ve ever heard.

In NYC, Innov Gwana magnifies the brilliant sound by infusing it with other, similarly affected sounds like Latin and African percussion. Unsurprisingly, the city has adopted them as one of the top can’t-miss acts around. They’ve played slammed and sweaty shows everywhere from Lincoln Center and Brooklyn Bowl. The GRAMMY-nominated collective has even recently collaborated with internationally-recognized electronic producer, Bonobo.

Witness it Live.

We’re diving deep into Innov Gnawa’s music and their influence for many reasons, if not to open your mind to something new. Take the leap into the fresh experience in person on May 5th for the less-rowdy alternative to Cinco de Mayo. The Rhythm Foundation will be bringing the 7-piece band down to the North Beach Bandshell as part of their popular Axis of Love series. Make sure to grab your tickets here.