Last year, vocalist/percussionist/composer, Paula Jeanine Bennett, from Brooklyn, New York, was in Morocco working with Jessica Stephens' Culture Vultures and presented Village Dial Waheda / A Village Of One (See story here). Now she is coming back to Morocco with an exciting new project
During the last year, Bennett has been working with the Sufi Haddarattes Souiriyattes ( Hadra group from Essaouira) and between August 19th and 21st will present her new work during the Festival Hadra Feminine et Musique de Transe. This is the fourth edition of the festival.
Bennett's collaboration has result in a project named Kloub Nssa (Heart Of Women). The project features compositions by Bennett as well as several of their traditional Haddaratte songs that she has adapted into English.
In composing for the project, Bennett says she was inspired by the writings of Catholic mystic Thomas Merton. The Sufi Haddarattes of Essaouira also have an ancient and mystical tradition.The name Haddarattes derives from hadra which means “ecstatic dance”. While not the best known of the many female hadra groups in Morocco, such as those from Chefchaouen or Meknes, the Essaouira women are gaining a strong reputation.
All of the women share a belief in unseen forces (djnun) and states of trance (jidba and hal). Kloub Nssa will perform at the festival on August 20th.
|Thomas Merton was an inspiration for the work|
|The Essaouira Hadra group back in 2012|
With the sweet and sultry voice of Paula Jeanine Bennett, the raspy and soulful vocals of lead Haddarattes singer Rabia el Hail, the buzzing beat of the Bendir (a frame drum dating back to before the Roman Empire), the deep boom of the Gnawa bass drum, and the unflagging energy of a women’s chorus clacking, clapping and chanting, the performance should be an exciting innovation in musical and spiritual exploration.