Sabil 'a 'Salaam
Nass Marrakech offer the essence of Gnawa trance music on the songs "Marhaba" and "Hammeadi." Each of these songs begins with a short improvisation on the sintir, a deep sounding three-stringed lute. As the sintir finds a groove, it is joined by the karkabas, double metal castinets, setting up a circular or repeating rhythm. As the rhythm circle is joined by a djembe (a single-headed drum) later in the song, the rhythm shifts to a slightly different pattern. But underneath, the groove continues. Abdelkebir Bensaloum, the lead singer calls out repeating short lines and a male chorus responds. The voices drop out and the sintir takes over the lead yet not moving out of the rhythm groove. The effect on the listener is to suspend him in a non-directional time frame inducing a trance-like total awareness of the present moment.
Audio: "Shema" © Alula and Nass Marrakech, used by permission
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