Who are the Gnawa? What are some of their signature musical instruments?
The Gnawa people are a tribal community living in Algeria and Morocco in the Maghreb. Some of the signature instruments used by the tribe include metallic castanets, three-stringed bass lute, and heavy drums that offer both audio and visual assurance of the tribe's presence.
From where do Moroccans emanate?
The black Moroccans were initially black slaves originating from black West Africa who obtained their freedom under different historical events. However, not all black Moroccans originate from West Africa; some were native to Southern Morocco.
What three important meanings does the term Gnawa have? From where does the term derive?
The word Gnawa has three paramount meanings. First, it implies black individuals who were slaves in West Africa. Secondly, it describes both spiritual and religious order of a conventionally Black Muslim community. Thirdly, it represents the style of music connected with this order. The term Gnawa is derived from aguinaw, a Berber word.
What are fundamental to the Gnawa order? How?
Aspects of pre-Islamic West Africa doctrine like the spiritual aspect is fundamental to the tribe's order. For the community, the spirit world is occupied by ancestral spirits as well as other spiritual living things, can be used for malicious or virtuous purposes.
How are the Gnawa a diasporic culture?
The Gnawa are a diasporic tradition, and there are spiritual and artistic commonalities between the other spiritual black communities in Africa and the Gnawa order like the stambouli in Tunisia and bori in Nigeria as well as past Africa such as the vodoun religion adopted in Caribbean nations.
Who have the Gnawa influence? How?
The Gnawa tribe have influenced other Arab/Berber religious brotherhoods and orders like for instance Hamdushiya in the 17th century and Issawiya in the 16th century. These brotherhoods introduced new aspects to the regular sufi devotional ceremonies.
What "distinct space" does the Gnawa occupy in Moroccan society?
The Gnawa play a spiritual and social role and have become popular public performers in recent years creating a special space in Moroccan society.
How is Gnawa music viewed? What has it inspired?
Gnawa music is not acknowledged as national music. The music has inspired the creation of popular Moroccan music and is analogically parallel to the African American gospels, spirituals, and ultimately the genre referred to as "the blues."
How do the Gnawa relate/contribute to an understanding of the term/concept "diaspora" as defined in "Are We Global Yet?" and explored/examined in "Guitar Playing and Representation?"
The Gnawa music has contributed a regular purpose in their religious belief and is naturally associated with the Gnawa religious practices and to their particular cultural and historical nostalgia. It is their distinct cultural and historical memories celebrated and blended in music and dances that the tribe claim to offer a connection to the spiritual realm.
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