Tamesloht : a Town of Camels,  Sacrifice and Marriage

Tamesloht : a Town of Camels, Sacrifice and Marriage

A gaggle of older men in djellabas were sitting outside of the main entrance into the zaouia of Moulay Abdel Hussein, the grandfather of Moulay Brahim who’s tomb and  zaouia resides a little further south in the foothills of the Atlas mountains.  Both grandfather and grandson and their zaouias, play significant roles in a ritual which forms part of the living history of the Sidna Bilal Gnaoua brotherhood;  a history which is primarily contained in the very music and rituals it performs.

The legend and associated moussem ( festival ) is documented in a former blog post here . (more…)

Pilgrimage : Moulay Brahim and the Gnaoua

Pilgrimage : Moulay Brahim and the Gnaoua

“You will fly over the ocean,” he continued, “by the power of baraka, the blessing of Sidi Moulay Brahim,  tair lajbal, indicating the spirit bird that flies over the Atlas Mountains”

Memoir of a Berber by Hassan Ouakrim

The young girl got up from the cushion and stood beside the figure in colourful, flowing robes already dancing directly in front of the line of musicians. The low monotone of the hajhuj and the rhythmic clacking of the qraqebs crackled through the cold November air.  She imbibed heavily from a white cloud of burning incense and a cloth of colour was placed over her head. Blind, her own dance joined that of the dancing figure beside her.

The girl was endeavouring to cure or treat a ‘malady’ of some description,  either by invoking or pleasing benevolent spirits or by propitiating malicious ones.  She was entering trance,  a dissociative state which permits the fording of dimensions between this world and the world of the troublesome, mischievous jinn.