Caravanserai’s fall 2012 music residency tour will feature Majid Bekkas Gnawa Ensemble. Hailing from Sale, Morocco, Majid Bekkas is a contemporary master of gnawa—one of West Africa’s oldest musical traditions—and a predecessor to American jazz and blues. Playing his signature guembri, a three-stringed bass lute, and accompanied by a colorful ensemble of dancers and singers jubilantly clapping rhythms with special iron castanets called qarqaba, the Majid Bekkas Gnawa Ensemble will take audiences on a spiritual journey to the soul of the gnawa culture.
After launching his career playing banjo and guembri in renowned Moroccan folk bands, Majid Bekkas studied oud and classical guitar at the famed National Conservatory of Music and Dance in Rabat, Morocco where he is now a noted professor of music. Bekkas tapped into his gnawa roots under the tutelage of master musician Ba Houma. He is now celebrated as a national treasure in Morocco and is considered one of the greatest gnawa musicians of his time. His albums African Ganaoua Blues and Mogador are among the most popular of his many critically acclaimed world music and jazz recordings.