Music salesmen in the square: Jemaa al-Fnaa

During your visit to Morocco you will discover Marrakech’s central square (Jemaa al-Fnaa) to be a sensory overload of sight, taste and sound whether you visit at night or at day.

From the stalls selling fresh orange juice to the open air cooking stands that appear once the sun begins to set over the red city, there is always something new to be found in this ancient space.

One stall that you might hear before you see however, are the various CD sellers that are scattered about Jemaa al-Fnaa. As well as selling a variety of local music that’s impossible to buy hard copies of in Europe, come night and day they will be setting the rhythm of the square, filling the air with the sounds of Gnawa and the Arab world.

After working with a team of international journalists and DJ’s on a radio station in Oslo, Norway I’ve become keen to find new and interesting sounds that don’t make it onto the airwaves in the British Isles.

So after approaching one of the stalls I was delighted when the stall owner, whose name was Jalid came over to tell me more about the types of music the stalls collect. Jalid informs me that the stall collects Western sounds as well as Arabic, Berber, Gnawa and traditional Arabic music from artist’s hailing from all over North Africa.

Jalid goes on to tell me that in the 5 years he has been working in Jemaa al-Fnaa he has developed a love for house music. So after a long week’s work Jalid and his friends exchange the timeless traditional characteristics of the Marrakech Medina for the bright lights and modern bustle of the new town of Guiliez, in search of discos and contemporary music.

During your stay in Marrakech, strike up conversation with one of the many music salesmen scattered through the city square, they will be delighted to hear you take an interest in the native sounds of North Africa. They will also be more than happy to recommend an artist for you and a CD from a local musician makes for an eye opening gift for a friend back home.

Finally, don’t be too shy to recommend some music from your own corner of the world to the salesmen themselves! Music is their passion and they will only thank you for it. Jemaa al-Fnaa is the beating heart of the red city of Marrakech and is only a 10 minute walk from the luxury Riad Star.

Marrakech Jemaa al Fnaa Map

» Explore the Jemaa el Fnaa Map

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