Hassan Hakmoun
Hassan Hakmoun
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Hassan Hakmoun. Moroccan singer and composer, he is often hailed as the godfather of Gnawa music and considered as an ambassador of this art form. He currently resides in New York.\r

Born in 1963 in Marrakesh into a family of musicians, facilitating his initiation to the mystical traditions and psychedelic rituals of Gnawa, Hakmoun soon learnt how to play the iconic musical instrument the sintir. From the age of 14, he started performing alongside master Gnawas in Derdeba Lilas held at his house, displaying his resourcefulness, and laying the grounds for his future musical career.\r

He relocated to New York in 1987 after one of his performances there with The Trio Gna & Nomadas Dance Troupe. Finding himself in the face of a new culture and a challenging environment, his only remaining means of communication was music. So with the advent of the year 1989, he released his debut album, Fire Within, chronicling the beginning of a musical journey filled with inventiveness and originality. Between 1992 and 1994, he took part in the WOMAD (World of Music, Art and Dance) festival tours. His next album, Trance, produced with his band Zahar, in collaboration with Peter Gabriel, furthered the expanse of Gnawa music. In 2003, his album, The Gift, a collaboration with Fabian Alsultany, received Indie Award for best contemporary world music recording. After a hiatus that lasted more than ten years, Hakmoun released his latest album, Unity, in 2014; a musical score in which he celebrated peace and dialogue amongst cultures and nations.

Throughout his musical career, Hassan Hakmoun collaborated with many fellow musicians from the US and Europe; he performed in numerous major festivals and venues, which served to expand the reach of Gnawa tradition around the globe. His incorporation of multiple musical genres, ranging from jazz, blues, rock, and African styles, gave his compositions a unique and universal feeling. These fused influences, apparent in the entirety of his discography, assuredly cements his position as one of the trailblazers in the realm of contemporary Moroccan music.

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