Saturday, June 18, 2011

Master Musicians of Joujouka to open Glastonbury Festival

Our in-house music guru, Ibn Warraq, reports that the Moroccan group, the Master Musicians of Joujouka, from the village of Zahjouka just north of Ksar El Kebir have been accorded the singular honour of opening one of the World’s biggest music festivals on June 24. 

 Opening the UK's Glastonbury Festival’s Pyramid Stage is an honour accorded to groups and artists of significance. Later that day the same stage will feature the legendary hip hop artists Wu Tang Clan, blues legend B.B. King, Morrissey and global superstars U2.

Photo: Jill Furmanovsky
At a time of turbulence in the Arab world these accolades are impressive for a group of musicians from a farming village in the North of Morocco. However, Zahjouka/Joujouka is no ordinary place or musical fraternity. Since the 1950s they have been feted by the Beat Generation after the Moroccan painter Mohamed Hamri (1932-2000) introduced the Beats to the music of his village. William Burroughs referenced them in his 1962 novel The Ticket that Exploded and in 1968 the founder of The Rolling Stones , Brian Jones, recorded the musicians of the village for the seminal LP “Brian Jones presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka” which was the first release on The Rolling Stone’s record label Rolling Stones Records in 1971.

The Glastonbury Festival which will take place June 24th – 26th in Somerset in the UK is one of the world’s biggest music festivals (like the legendary Woodford Festival in Australia) attracting 150,000 people for a weekend on a UK farm. The Master Musicians open the Festival its biggest Pyramid Stage on Friday 24 June and thereafter will play for three days and nights in their own area bringing Moroccan ritual music to a global audience.

Frank Rynne, who has managed the group since 1992 told The View from Fez,  “I first invited the musicians to an international festival in 1992 which honoured the Beat Generation writer William Burroughs and the painter Brion Gysin and featured the Moroccan painter Mohamed Hamri. Hearing this amazing music live is always a special event. Joujouka music utilises ancient forms and the musicians have incredible stamina.

See more at Master Musicians of Joujouka website

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