The word "Gnaoui" refers to that which comes from Ghana and Guinea. The gnawa music is mostly the fruit of an encounter, that between the three areas are nested : the breath of the sub-saharan Africa, the archipelago berber and space in arab-muslim. A melting pot that has given birth to a unique kind of music. Gnawa Diffusion (whose leader, Amazigh Kateb, is the son of the algerian author Kateb Yacine), the Tinariwen, the national Orchestra of Barbès, Kel Assouf, Aziz Sahmaoui, to name only the more well-known, have brought this music out of the Maghreb. But international musicians have been able to detect in those sounds an afro-berber the source of the american blues. Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Led Zeppelin (Robert Plant and Jimmy Page especially), jazz pianists Randy Weston and Omar Sosa came to "source" to this haunting music. Several festivals in North Africa are now dedicated to Essaouira to Algiers. That is called the Diwan in Algeria, Stambali in Tunisia, and Zar in Egypt, the gnawa is both protean and of a singularity marked.p>
A group at the crossroads
The young group Bab The Rhythm track now his way in this protean world. The group, a quartet born out of the encounter between the singer of the group, Yousra Mansour and musician Brice Bottin during a residency in Marrakech around a project linked to the music tuareg, fate is indeed a very promising album Nayda ! Yousra Mansour and Brice Bottin began to create the directory of the Bab The Blues, before the other musicians, all specialized in the afro-beat does, in particular. Bab The Blues, it is primarily the promise that carries the name of the group, Bab meaning in Arabic " Gate ". The group, formed in 2018, and thus offers an entry to the source of the blues. "Bab's Blues recalls the door of the blues, but also the door of the desert. We wanted to remind you that the blues, so intimately linked to America, derives from african music, " says Brice Bottin.
"Nayda !" means "get up" and, by extension, it refers to a movement of festive. "Nayda is a moroccan movement recent. It translates this movement is festive, but it is also a kind of intellectual development. A form of reflection and rebellion, a revolutionary call to understand the arab society. This call is also for peace, without violent revolution, " says Yousra Mansour wrote the lyrics in darija, the Arabic popular spoken in the Maghreb. "Even if I am of berber origin, singing in darija is guaranteed to be understood by all ", she adds.
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Nayda, an album merge
Result, the album actually offers a festive sound, chanted, chaloupé. Choirs, youyous also remind us of a marriage of berber as a religious procession. The gnawa are considered, in North Africa, such as music that is both festive as therapeutic, invocation and sacrificing. Vibration from land-based sources, which should make a link with the body and the sky, in the libation of the notes that flow during ceremonies at night (the leilas, the night in Arabic). Islam has ritualized gestures animistic, incorporating them in ceremonies of the brotherhoods and cults of the saints. "These songs are customary, religious, healing, related to spiritual energies," recalls Yousra Mansour.
Brice Bottin : Guembri, guitar, percussion, backing vocals. © Bab The Blues
A hybrid music
The musical heritage is enriched by sounds of various origins
This is perhaps the strength of this album, is firmly rooted in a heritage, but that it reworks, reinterprets, and in which he breathes a sound that is psychedelic rock. The album is built first around the traditional instrument of the gnawa music. At the heart of these rhythms, the inescapable guembri, three-stringed instrument made of the guts of a goat, with a resonator rectangular covered skin of camel or dromedary. Link connecting upstream the n'goni West African and downstream of the banjo in North America, this instrument gives the sound a special music gnawa. And then there are the awicha, a kind of guembri more modest in size and an octave above. In the group, it is Yousra Mansour who plays it. According to Brice Bottin, the group wanted to create a sonic identity very " strong ". "We included the sounds that we love : rock, with bass-drums-guitar. But the guembri replaces the bass. The guitar is replaced by the awicha. These instruments pass through an amp to get bass effects. We do the same with the awicha, which gives the guitar effects. As the fuzz, or other typical sounds of the power trio and the psychedelic music. This music induces a trance ; we have been working on this same concept, we play the ostinato rhythmic and melodic interlocking. Add impact metal, (qraqebs or karkabous) and also the flute so present in the music of berber and West Africa with the Fulani. ".
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sounds very "fusion" between rock, trance, layers of psyche, and solid structure gnawa, Yousra Mansour asks his original creations. His voice keeps quickly attention, undoubted power in the middle of the strength of the instruments ; a voice sometimes very feminine and acute, sometimes androgynous and throat. "Each song is about a particular subject. The song Ila matta, "until when" was inspired by a poem by the tunisian poet Anis Chouchène, He said, " Until when the difference will reign, until when the violence is glorified, until when will there be silent ". Glibi is inspired by a poetry of mauritania, the Tebra, which is about women. They used this poetry to sing words of love to their lovers by remaining anonymous. El Gamra speaks of the moon and its light and its special energy " details Yousra Mansour.
Yousra Mansour : vocals, awisha, percussion, guembri. © Benjamin Astier
The challenge of renewal
But how to renew a genre, the gnawa heritage, rooted and codified, carried across the world by a group as iconic as the Tinariwen ? Is there still room for a new breath ? For Brice Bottin, if the Tinariwen opened the way, " Bab's Blues'm still experimenting, searching, working. We are passionate about this music and work with respect." And listen, if the sound of Tinariwen, with a low tone quiet, seems to be more meditative, Bab The Blues électrise obviously this music.p>
* Nayda ! released on June 5 in Real World/Pias.