Hassan Hakmoun is one of the most notable figures in contemporary Moroccan music, schooled in the traditional sounds of the Gnawa people in his native Marrakesh. Since moving to the US in 1987 his music has absorbed elements from a variety of popular styles, from jazz and "world music" to neo-classical contemporary Western music and cerebral pop, resulting in a diverse, award-winning and critically acclaimed body of work.
It's been 26 years since the talented vocalist and sintir player released Gift of the Gnawa. yet the time has been spent well. Hakmoun's latest album, 'Unity' is the finest example of ritual music combined with the heart of American rock, soul and blues ever recorded.
"The inspiration of Unity was to work on certain songs I've played live but have never recorded before," Hakmoun says. "I've been working on new styles for a long time, and a lot of Moroccan musicians are taking advantage of the doors I opened for them. I'm happy to be able to keep performing for those people who are inspired by what I do."
Hassan Hakmoun's 6-piece ensemble includes the sintir plus vocals, guitar, drums, percussion, flute/sax, and karkaba, the metal double castenets of the Gnawa.