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MM0034 – GaiaMusica vol. 2 – Brasil, Marrocos (2017)

I was already aware of the rich culture of Moroccan music but it was back in 2007 when I spoke with the Rainha das Sete Encruzilhadas – a spiritual figure of the Afro-Brazilian religion Umbanda – that all these ideas came together. In 2009 whilst on an artists residency in London I collaborated with Dr Das, bass player, producer and co-founder of Asian Dub Foundation. He presented me with a Guimbre – an instrument used in the traditional Gnawa music of Morocco. Shortly after this, I travelled to Senegal to perform with the singer Ligiana and there met Moroccan producer Ghita Khaldi. The following year in Brazil I got to know Moroccan musician Mehdi Nassouli and learnt more and more about Moroccan music and found myself at a cultural crossroads. For almost 800 years the Iberian peninsula was under the influence of the Moors, a term used across Europe in the middle ages to describe North African and Arab Muslims who eventually left the region around 1498 to return to Morocco and other parts of north Africa. Brasil and Morocco share much common heritage. Their musical cultures both embrace a diverse range of instruments like the double sided bass drum zabumba, pandeiros (the brazilian tambourine) and frame drums and wooden flutes. I also see connections with some traditional Brazilian dances such as fandango and catira.