The 25th edition of the Gnaoua and World Music Festival, set to take place from June 27 to 29 in Essaouira, promises an extraordinary opening concert, showcasing a unique fusion of three cultures listed as Unesco intangible heritage, according to the organizers.

This special edition will feature over 400 artists from 14 countries, offering around 53 concerts, a human rights forum, a training program with the prestigious Berklee College of Music, roundtable discussions on Gnaoua culture, and a grand art exhibition of renowned Moroccan artists. Additionally, numerous activities will be held throughout the city.

“This exceptional edition will kick off with two significant highlights: the traditional and vibrant opening parade featuring all the participating brotherhoods. This colorful spectacle, led by the Gnaoua Maâlems, will parade through the streets to greet the locals and festival-goers, celebrating the launch of the 25th edition together,” the organizers explained.

Following the parade, an unprecedented concert will take place—a musical creation celebrating transatlantic fraternity by bringing together musicians and dancers from Morocco, Brazil, Spain, and Ivory Coast.

According to the same source, this concert will be a true musical and visual experience, an explosion of rhythms blending Gnaoua, Brazilian Batucada, Flamenco, and Zaouli to highlight their similarities.

“For the first time, this performance will feature an extraordinary meeting of three genres listed as Unesco intangible cultural heritage (Gnaoua, Flamenco, and Zaouli),” the organizers emphasized.

Grand Maâlem Hassan Boussou and the spirited Maâlem Moulay Tayeb Dehbi will exchange their spiritual notes with their Brazilian counterparts, the committed Ilê Aiyê; a brilliant ensemble of percussionists promoting the African component of Bahian music.

The Dumanlé Company, which practices Zaouli (an Ivorian popular art combining mask, costume, music, and dance in a single performance), will face the percussive zapateado of Flamenco dancer Nino de Los Reyes, accompanied by percussionist Sergio Martinez.

This highly anticipated fusion is sure to make history, the organizers added.

This year, the Gnaoua and World Music Festival’s program has been meticulously crafted to offer a wide variety of musical genres and artists, making both demanding and popular choices.

The Festival promises a bold and inclusive lineup, a hallmark of this event that provides a unique experience. Over 400,000 festival-goers are expected this year, coming from around forty countries and all over Morocco.