Blogging from the Gnawa Festival
OK, here I am in Essaouira for the mother of all Moroccan music fests, the Festival d'Essaouira de Gnawa et Musiques du Monde. At least 400,000 people are here with me. I lucked out in that Dar Gnawa kindly offered to let me stay with them, so I don't have to duke it out with the other tourists for an overpriced hotel room.
So far I've been introduced to many great Gnawa m'allims and musicians. They will all come out this afternoon for an opening procession through the main gate of the medina, and then the weekend kicks off at 7 pm with M'allim Mahmoud al-Filali, from Asila; apart from Abdellah El Gourd, the only other Gnawi on the program this year from the north of Morocco (although Hamid El Kasri could count himself here too).