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 .


The Gnaoua are an ethnic group which occupy parts of Morocco and Algeria.  They are descendants of slaves brought to Morocco by ruling berbers from central and western Africa