Mosawi Swiri, is the debut album of Houssam Gania.
The youngest son of the late Moroccan master, Maalem Mahmoud Gania, who belongs to one of Morocco’s most famous Gnawa families.
Houssam and his group have been mastering their knowledge and understanding of the Gnawa ceremonial repertoire at Lila’s and festivals around Morocco, and on Mosawi Swiri they present a number of songs from the Musawiyin Suite, the blue section of the trance ritual during which they invoke Sidi Musa, the master of the spirits of sea and sky.
These songs have a special resonance for the Gnawa of the Atlantic fishing port of Essaouira.
Houssam’s playing is never flamboyant, aiming instead for the solid and insistent groove that drives his band and the trance ritual.
Houssam is accompanied throughout by his brother Hamza Gania, Mohamed Benzaid, Khalid Charbadou and Amine Bassi on Garagabs and a vocal chorus that compliments Houssam’s earthy lead vocal.
On the opening song, Moulay Lhacham, the group are joined by young musicians from the Essaouira region on guitar, keyboard and drums for a subtle and respectful piece of Gnawa fusion.
Fans of Houssam’s work with James Holden, and of Hive Mind’s 2017 release by Maalem Mahmoud Gania will want to immerse themselves in this special album.
Release Date: 22 February 2019.
Record label: Hive Mind Records
Format Cassette & Digital
Gnawa (Gnaoua) Music
One of the most popular music styles listened to in North Africa. Traditionally the music forms part of the many deep rooted spiritual healing rituals within Morocco.
Ceremonies (Lilas) are led by a master (Maalem) who plays the Gimbri a long wooden necked three-string lute.
The Maalem will chant and sing call and response to other members of the group who sing and dance whilst playing the Garagab.
These large iron castanets clatter along as each song or part of a series of songs induce trance rhythms, driving out evil spirits or an illness infecting the participants.
Drums can also feature, ceremonies can last all night and take place in public or private residences.
In recent times Gnawa music has become much more secular and Gnawas Maalems are highly respected and receive popularity as any other musical artist.
The annual Gnaoua World Music Festival of Essaouira is in its 21st year and up to 400,000 people attend including 1000’s of global visitors.
It showcases a mix of Moroccan and international artists which has led to Gnawa music being fused with jazz, reggae and other genres.