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Sample Track 1:
"Black Market" from Aziz Sahmaoui & University of Gnawa
Sample Track 2:
"Salabati" from Aziz Sahmaoui & University of Gnawa
Layer 2

More About Aziz Sahmaoui & University of Gnawa

"We have become servants of the institutions, bad TV programs, the financial calculations in collusion ".

These words were written by Aziz Sahmaoui well before the events that ignited Maghreb, yet they reflect the anger of young North Africans. In the Maghreb, Aziz Sahmaoui is a real source of inspiration for many musicians of the new generation. At the origins of the «Orchestre National Barbes» or alongside Joe Zawinul, he has continued to promote traditional music from Maghreb in a modern way.

From the age of 7, Aziz grew up in Marrakesh at the center of the cultural melting pot of different tribes of Morocco.There he absorbed the traditional music and emerging sounds from the new scene Morocco: Nass el Ghiwane, amaziria music, chaabi and especially the music of the healing Gnawa masters.

After several years of solo practice at 14, he formed his first group, working on vocals and string instruments and tplayed his first gigs. Later, he accompanied the diva Najat Atabou.

In the late 80s, after his studies of litterature, Aziz decided to move to France. He became one of the founders, leaders and composers of a essential group of the 90s in Paris, the Orchestre National de Barbès (ONB). With this band, he introduces a new musical style mixes North African rhythms in all their diversity to jazz and fusion. With the ONB, he toured the scenes around the world and concerts in prestigious venues. The first album of the ONB has sold over 100,000 copies.

Aziz has collaborated with leading jazz artists of the moment (touring and recording discs), including the guitarist Nguyên Lê, Maghreb with the group and Friends, Michael Gibbs and (WDR Big Band Cologne Radio) or the group Sixun.

In 2005, Joe Zawinul invites Aziz for the recording his double live album "Vienna Night" at Birdland in Vienna, Austria. Aziz became a permanent member of the group Zawinul Syndicate. As a tribute, it continues to happen today.

Aziz recorded his first solo album in 2011 recorded at Studio Davout directed by producer Martin Meissonier (Fela, Khaled, Papa Wemba, Page/Plant, Seun Kuti ...) with his new band "University of Gnawa." The group has been touring all over Europe and North Africa, composed of an all star line up , plus Aziz: Alune Wade (bass), Cheikh Diallo (kora, keyboards), Herve Samb (guitar), Adhil Mirghani (percussion. All group members also sing choirs.

An astonishing journey across Morrocan and Senegalese music through the gnawa prism. He aslo continues to promote traditional music from Maghreb , amaziria music, chaabi , in a modern way with his proper sound, made of all his expériences and influences, jazz, rock, fusion …

The UNIVERSITY OF GNAWA* has performed all over Europe many concerts and many festivals : in Sines in Portugal, at the english Womad (see review below), at the Cosmo Jazz in Chamonix , at the Cully Jazz in Switzerland, at the festival Merce in Barcelona, Gnawa festival in Tlemcen Algeria, in Koln, Berlin, Mawazine, Musiques Metisses/Angoulème, Le bout du Monde/Crozon, L Alhambra/ Paris, New Morning/Paris, Fest des Hauts de Garonne/Bordeaux, Music Meeting/ Nijmegen Hl, Oslo world Music Fest….. Aziz is preparing is new album with his own compositions and lyrics which will be released in autumn 2013. A new musical trip around Morocco… At meantime he is presenting on stage this spring his new project with his great friend, the marvellous flamenco guitarist, Ninõ Josele.

* The Gnawa are therapist musicians, healers from an Arab-Berber and mostly African mixture. Their rituals of ecstasy were compared to those of Haitian voodoo, Tunisian Stambali, Brazilian Macumba, Sudanese Zar...They take place during the "Lila"("holy night"in Arabic).Their instruments are the Gumbri (3-stringed drum instrument), the qraqeb (metal castanets or crotales), the ganga (drums), and accompany the singing, choirs and dance. University of Gnawa is named in honour of the Gnawa.