Gnawa Music Of Marrakesh

Night Spirit Masters

Zehra • 1990

In 1990, the ambient-esoteric Bill Laswell jetted off to Marrakesh. In the old town of the Moroccan metropolis, he meets some Gnawa musicians from the ethnic minority known for their ritual music. A handful of them take out their gimbris, some begin to sing. Bill Laswell slots a tape into the recorder and records what he hears. A few months later, the record is released on his label Axiom – and becomes a success. Suddenly, it’s not only occasional appropriators like Peter Gabriel and Joe Zawinul whose ears are ringing. Everyone was ready to stick incense sticks up their noses, drive out evil spirits and sacrifice three calves. No wonder. »Night Spirit Masters« consists of eleven tracks that suck you in deeper than an ayahuasca retreat in the Amazon delta. Today, the sound has long since sailed the, well… oceans of the world at all the various world music festivals. In 1990, the sound was only familiar to the ethnological elite like Laswell. The long-necked lutes croon, the tortoise shells stumble and voices push trance through the funnel. Drop in, drop out – if this record doesn’t provide you with the therapeutic self-healing you need, then you’ re still charging crystals under your pillow!