Bill Laswell has always been about mixing different cultures in his music, and his latest release is a stellar example of why it works so well. The bassist/producer teamed up with Maâlem Mokhtar Gania to create TAGNAWWIT – Holy Black Gnawa Trance, an album that fuses Gnawa from Africa with Western music.
“GNAWA (or Gnaoua) MUSIC is a rich North African repertoire of ancient African Islamic spiritual, religious songs and rhythms,” a press release explains. “Its well-preserved heritage combines ritual poetry with traditional music and dancing. TAGNAWWIT offers a rich mix of musical and cultural backgrounds, fusing many individual influences into one collective sound.”
While Laswell lays down the bass on the album, many bassists will be taken with the traditional Gnawa instrument called the guinbri, which prominently sets the groove in the music. The album features a diverse cast of musicians including Dominic James and Aiyb Dieng from West Africa, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, Graham Haynes, Peter Apfelbaum, Adam Rudolph and many others.
Check out the album’s opening track, “Sidi Fkih Shamharouch”:
TAGNAWWIT – Holy Black Gnawa Trance Track List:
- Sidi Fkih Shamharouch
- Oulad Khalifa Maneen Shesh
- Sheikh Moulay Ahmed
- Mabodallah Allah Dayyim