Tuesday, September 16
Claude McKay and Gnawa Music
"... These kinds of Gnawa music shows can now be seen regularly in New York City, if not always with the fire-eating—in Times Square, at music spots in Harlem, Latin clubs in Queens, impromptu jam sessions in Central Park. The Gnawa are a Sufi order in Morocco who identify with the descendants of formerly enslaved West Africans. Their music is believed to heal people possessed by jinn, or spirits. The rise of this music, which began, in the nineteen-fifties, as a marginalized Sufi practice but has become arguably the most popular music emerging from the region today, is a question that nettles scholars and ordinary North Africans alike: How did Gnawa music become our national music? Of the myriad Sufi orders that use faith healing, and of the countless North African genres known for polyrhythmic syncopation, why has this one grabbed Western listeners?"
NPR - 'Rebel Music': When Hip-Hop Met Islam (Video)
NY Times: Music Mix: Spirituality and Protest