Before hitting the festival, meet your local musician guide under Essaouira’s iconic clocktower to begin a journey back in time to get the lowdown on Gnawa’s musical roots.
We’ll weave through the medina to visit a zaouia, a sacred Gnawa temple reserved for traditional lila rituals performed to treat psychological ills, drive out evil spirits, or remedy scorpion stings. Lilas take place to this day and last all night long until sunrise.
We continue our music tour through the medina to the private home of a Gnawa dancer or kuyu. Welcomed with local tea, he will demonstrate the acrobatic Gnawa dance moves and explain the colourful, intricate designs of the typical costumes, decorated with embroidery and cowrie shells.
The Gnawa rhythms lead us to meet the maalem or Master to learn about the guembri, a lute-like instrument played in Gnawa music. We’ll see where and how the guembri is made and get to hear what it sounds like. The maalem will then take us to his private quarters, rarely open to outsiders, to understand how one becomes the highly respected leader of a Gnawa troupe.
Finally we’ll head to a hip local music spot to sip Moroccan wine and watch the evening festival activities unfold. You’ll get the skinny on the best insider tips on which shows to see, where to find the best local spots and how to make the most of the Gnaoua Festival.
Inclusions: Local English-speaking musician guide, VIP festival event access, glass of Moroccan wine.
Exclusions: Items of a personal nature, tips and gratuities for your guide.
Dress standard: As we will be entering sacred and private spaces, please be considerate of local tradition and wear appropriate clothing. We recommend both men and women cover up from the shoulders to the knees. As we will walk over some uneven terrain, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Evenings can be cold so a warm layer is advisable.
Your Trip: For your Urban Adventure you will be in a small group of a maximum of 8 people.
Confirmation of booking: If you have your voucher, your booking is confirmed. We'll see you at the start point.
Get in touch if you have any concerns or require more information via the email address or phone number (business hours only) on your voucher.
Additional Information: This is VIP tour so maximum group size is 8 people
Child Policy: Children must be 6 years of age to 11 years inclusively. Children below the age of 6 are not permitted on this tour.