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Gnawa Music Experience

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highlights
  • Explore the sacred Gnawa traditions and sites with a local musician guide
  • Meet a local kuyu (Gnawa dancer) for a dance presentation and display of their traditional garments
  • Learn the history and craft of the ornate lute-like guembri instrument
  • Join a Gnawa maalem (master) in his private quarters to hear him play the traditional Gnawa melodies
The Gnawa Music Experience tour starts and ends in Essaouira. The Gnawa Music Experience is a Cultural, Religious And Historic Sites tour that takes 3 hours.

Step inside the sacred and traditional world of the Gnawa, an Afro-Moroccan group whose music and culture are the heartbeat of Essaouira. Meet with Gnawa masters and experience their addictive music in hidden domains inaccessible to Essaouira outsiders.
customer reviews
5.0 - Excellent Based on 1 review
Excellent
Mr. Ian C. At
5 - Excellent
“Said was a great tour guide, he was knowledgable and friendly and kind. it was like i had known for years!”
Itinerary
Kick off your Essaouira tour under the iconic clocktower to begin a journey back in time and tradition. Weave through the medina to visit azaouia, or temple of the Gnawa people, a sacred place reserved for traditional lila rituals, often performed to treat psychological ills, drive out evil spirits, or remedy scorpion stings. These lilas still take place and usually last all night long and into the wee hours of the morning.

Follow a kuyu, or Gnawa dancer, to his private home for some tea and a demonstration of the sometimes acrobatic Gnawa dance moves, accompanied by an explanation of their typical clothing. Often made at home, these intricate designs are unique to the Gnawa performers and include bold colours, embroidery, and cowrie shells.

Our Essaouira tour continues the private quarters of a maalem, or Master, to learn about the making of the guembri. This lute-like instrument is the base of all Gnawa music and you’ll get to learn how it’s made and hear it played. Rarely do outsiders get invited into these personal spaces, generally reserved for Gnawi, musicians and their friends. Despite often having no formal training, the maalem, the leader of any Gnawa troupe, is highly studied in the rhythm, emotion, and sound of the guembri and its songs. They grow up in families and circles of musicians or healers, learning the calls and chants from an early age. Maalem are highly respected in Essaouira and have much traditional knowledge to share.

Finish the evening as hip locals do in Essaouira — chilling at a local music spot, grooving to soulful music that fuses Gnawa with Jazz, Latin, Reggae, and more. Your local guide can recommend where to have dinner or carry on the night, if you’re so inclined!
what’s included
Guide
  • Local English-speaking guide
Others
  •  tea
  • Gnawa demonstrations/performances.
what’s excluded
  • Personal shopping
  • Tips / gratuities.
Tour details
Booking Type Instant Booking  
Duration 3 hours
Tour Type Group Tour - Max 12 participants
guiding method Live guide/instructor
Guide Language English
Starts/Ends Essaouira, Morocco/ Essaouira, Morocco
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Payment

Full payment of 72 USD is required to confirm this tour.

Other Practical InformationMeeting start point : Inside Bab Sbaa, below the clock tower (L’Moganna) Meeting end point : Near Moulay Hassan Square (in the Medina)
CancellationCancellation for this Gnawa Music Experience tour is free up to 48 hours before the chosen start date - full refund will be given. If cancellation is made less than 48 hours before the chosen start date, no refund applies.
Trip Details
  • Your Trip

    For your Urban Adventure you will be in a small group of a maximum of 12 people

  • Dress Standard

    As we will be entering sacred and private spaces, please be considerate of local tradition and wear appropriate clothing. We recommend covering the shoulders to the knees for both men and women. As we will walk over some uneven terrain, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Evenings can be cold so a warm layer is advisable. An umbrella, rain jacket and close toed shoes may be necessary in January and February.

  • Tipping

    If you are happy with the services provided by your local guide and driver, a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid Urban Adventures destinations. Please consider this when budgeting for your extra expenses on this tour

  • Closure

    If there are any sites visited on the trip that can be closed at limited prior notice for any reason. Eg for official visitations, please provide comment and the alternate site that will be visited. 

  • Additional Note

    We believe in Responsible Travel. A reusable bag is recommended to carry any purchases and reduce plastic bag waste.

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The Advantages of Bookmundi
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  • Secure Online Payment and Financial Guarantee Each and every trip is required to go through Bookmundi's secure payment platform, powered by Stripe and supported by SSL. All payments are therefore carried out in secure manners. We are furthermore member of the Danish Travel Fund which gives you a 100% financial guarantee for any money you pay on Bookmundi, even if we went bankrupt (which we we will not!).
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