• Hide caption
    Moroccan Gnawa singer and instrumentalist Hassan Hakmoun performs live for globalFEST at New York City's Webster Hall on Jan. 12, 2014.
    Ebru Yildiz for NPR
  • Hide caption
    Hakmoun, a veteran of the global music scene, has collaborated with artists like Peter Gabriel and Don Cherry over the course of his career.
    Ebru Yildiz for NPR
  • Hide caption
    Hakmoun's band blends traditional Gnawa music — itself a hybrid of North and sub-Saharan styles — as well as artful shadings of jazz and rock.
    Ebru Yildiz for NPR
  • Hide caption
    Percussionist and vocalist Chikako Iwahori plays the small brass castanet-like instruments called the qarqabat during Hassan Hakmoun's set.
    Ebru Yildiz for NPR

1 of 4

View slideshow i

globalFEST

Hassan Hakmoun 2014

Listen

Listen57:35

Loading…

For decades, Hassan Hakmoun has been the foremost ambassador of the Gnawa people and their incredible musical and spiritual traditions. A native of Marrakech, Hakmoun grew up in a Gnawa family, whose ancestors were brought from West Africa to North Africa as slaves in the 15th and 16th centuries. At the center of their spiritual practice is music and dance that fuses Islamic mysticism with sub-Saharan African traditions, particularly in all-night trance rituals meant to praise God and heal bodies and minds.

Hakmoun, whose mother was a famous healer in Marrakech, began singing, dancing and playing percussion as a young child, and he soon settled on the three-stringed sintir lute as his main instrument. Over the years, Hakmoun has incorporated myriad other strands such as jazz and rock (and worked with such collaborators as Don Cherry and Peter Gabriel), but at its heart his music remains warm, open and utterly joyful. In this globalFEST set, Hakmoun and the other six members of his band layered soulful vocals, complex African polyrhythms, jazz-tinged synth and a deep rock groove into a satisfying whole.

Set List
  • "Balili (My Father)"
  • "Hamadiyi (Prophet Muhammad)"
  • "Challaban Live (My Love)"
  • "Zidokan (Just Go)"
  • "Baniyi (My Son)"
  • "Dima Dima (Always)"
  • "Boudarbalayi (Saint)"
  • "Amarmoussaoi (People Of God)"
  • "Sutinbi (Makkah)"
[+] read more[-] less

More From World

Rodrigo Amarante performs a Tiny Desk Concert. Sarah Tilotta/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Sarah Tilotta/NPR

Tiny Desk Concerts

Rodrigo Amarante

A veteran of Little Joy and Los Hermanos, Amarante makes warm, tender music as a solo artist.

Yasmine Hamdan performs at a Tiny Desk Concert in April 2014. Jim Tuttle/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Jim Tuttle/NPR

Tiny Desk Concerts

Yasmine Hamdan

The Lebanese singer-songwriter is one of the most groundbreaking musicians in the Middle East.

Rodrigo y Gabriela in a scene from their new video for the song "The Russian Messenger." Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist

All Songs TV

Rodrigo y Gabriela, 'The Russian Messenger'

The duo's latest video is a no-frills performance showcasing their phenomenal guitar work.

Sandeep Das, Shane Shanahan, Mark Suter and Joseph Gramley, percussionists in the Silk Road Ensemble, perform at ACME Studio in Brooklyn, New York, for a Field Recordings video shoot. Mito Habe-Evans/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Mito Habe-Evans/NPR

Field Recordings

A Field Recording Bonus Track: The Silk Road Swings

Four talented percussionists create deep grooves out of their Silk Road Ensemble collaboration.

Back To Top