Asmaa Hamzaoui is the leading female performer of Gnawa music. Together with her band Bnat Timbouktou (Daughters of Timbuktu), she performs Gnawa music that goes back in time when this community was held as slaves and the music revolved around storytelling about their suffering.
Her father is the celebrated Maâlem Rachid Hamzaoui. From an early age, Asmâa learned to play the guembri and accompanied her father at celebrations. Traditionally, Gnawa women don’t play during ceremonies. Asmâa Hamzaoui is the exception.
Asmaa Hamzaoui and Bnat Timbouktou sing in the native Gnawan language. They advocate for equal rights and for the preservation of traditions and spiritual practices in modern-day Morocco and throughout the world.
In the fall of 2019, Asmaa released her first album Oulad Lghaba, focused on Gnawa spirituality.
The lineup in 2019 included Asmaa Hamzaoui on guembri and vocals; Aicha Hamzaoui on karkabas and vocals; Soukaina Elmeliji on karkabas and vocals; and Lamgammah Hind on karkabas and vocals.
The jury- designated WOMEX 2019 Official Selection concert program, is nearly complete with only two more Club Summit artists to be announced.
The second round of artists includes trumpeter Itamar Borochov who fuses jazz with classical maqam scales, Sephardic and Middle Eastern influences; Mission Songs Project, an important heritage project recovering the secular songs written and sung by indigenous Australian and Torres Strait Islanders; Asmâa Hamzaoui & Bnat Timbouktou, a rare all-female Gnawa ensemble; two Tanzanian top names from the vanguard of singeli, the electronic dance music from the streets of Dar-es-Salaam – DJ Duke & MCZo; the Grammy-winning progressive mariachi conjunto from New York City, Flor de Toloache; along with other artists.
The Jury-selected Showcase artists announced today:
Ahlberg, Ek & Roswall (Sweden)
Ak Dan Gwang Chil (ADG7) (South Korea)
Asmâa Hamzaoui & Bnat Timbouktou (Morocco)
Carmelo Torres y su Cumbia Sabanera (Colombia)
DJ Duke & MCZo (Tanzania)
Elida Almeida (Cabo Verde)
Faraj Suleiman (Palestine)
Flor de Toloache (USA)
Itamar Borochov (Israel//USA)
Lalala Napoli (France/Italy)
Los Wembler’s De Iquitos (Peru)
Mission Songs Project (Australia)
Monsieur Doumani (Cyprus)
Ryan Young & Jenn Butterworth (UK)
Yossi Fine & Ben Aylon (Israel)
Club Summit artists:
Dat Garcia (Argentina) Lorenzo BITW (Italy) Otim Alpha (Uganda)
headline photo: Asmaa by Khalil Mounji
Your Connection to traditional and contemporary World Music including folk, roots and various types of global fusion