Artist Profiles: Mehdi Nassouli

Mehdi Nassouli – Photo by Hicham

Mehdi Nassouli was born in Tarudant, southern Morocco, engaged in Gnawa culture. A phenomenal musical talent, he learned to play various musical instruments at an early age, becoming especially passionate about the three-stringed Gnawa bass lute, the guembri (also known as sentir and hajjuj).

Before launching his international career, Mehdi Nassouli spent a decade traveling throughout Morocco, studying the diverse regional musical traditions under some of the leading musicians in the area. In southern morocco, Mehdi learned Malhoune poetic arts and Deqqa folkloric percussion.

Introduced to the international world music scene by festival director Brahim El Mazned, Mehdi now has many projects and international collaborations, and also leads many different types of bands.

Receptive to the fusion of musical genres, he has collaborated with many leading international artists. He worked together with French guitarist Titi Robin for five years, including the 2012 Les Rives project and their joint 2015 album Taziri.  Nassouli has performed with Fatoumata Diawara, Benjamin Taubkin, Justin Adams, Herbie Hancock and Alpha Blondy, mixing traditional African, Amazigh (Berber) and Gnawa music with sounds of the wider world.

In 2016, Mehdi showcased at the World Music Expo held in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Mehdi Nassouli at a press conferee at the Rainforest World Music Festival 2019 – Photo by Angel Romero

Discography:

Taziri (World Village, 2015)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.
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