The world famous Jemma al Fna square is packed with Entertainers. Acrobats, snake charmers, storytellers musicians and a host of other performers all compete for attention and each individual has a personal story to tell.

Abdelkhalk is from the dessert, he is wearing traditional costume and visibly enjoys sharing traditional gnawa music.

Check out the accommodation at our fantastic Marrakech Riads just five minutes from the main square.

Leave a Comment

Many visitors to Morocco are familiar with Tagine, the classic slow cooked Moroccan meal prepared in a cone shaped clay pot of the same name.  The ancient City of Marrakech has a signature slow cooked dish which is even more special, the TANJIA.

The Tanjia dish is shaped like a greek urn, it is perfectly adapted to be used for slow cooking in the embers of the wood fires burning underneath the many Marrakech hammams public baths. Tanjia is tradtionally prepared by the men of the household, fresh meat, herbs and spices are carefully mixed and sealed in the Tanjia, these days lamb is most often used though historically it might also have been camel.  The minimum cooking time for Tanjia is an incredible five hours at the end of which the meat is tender, succulent and tasty.

Our friend Simohammed is responsible for the ‘Farnaatchi’ wood fired boiler room of the hamman two minutes from Riad Cinnamon in the Central Medina. Simohammed is a proud Marrakech Tanjia cook as well as being an instinctive and talented gnawa musician. For special occasions Mohammed can come to our Marrakech Riads and perform. Here he invites you into his Farnatchi, demonstrates how to prepare Tanjia and welcomes you to the Marrakech!

Ovens like this have been firing the hammams of Marrakech for centuries. See how the fire flares when Mohammed feeds it with sawdust, a byproduct from the local artisans in the Marrakech souks.

Please enable Javascript and Flash to view this Flash video.

To experience the Real Marrakech stay in the heart of the ancient Medina in a Luxury Riad Hotel. Browse our rooms and suites before making your reservation.

Individual suites at Riad Cinnamon:
Fez EssaouiraChefchaouen | CasablancaMeknes

Luxurious en suite rooms at Riad Papillion:

Leave a Comment

Traditional Hammans in Marrakech are heated by traditional ovens known as Farnatchi, throughout the day the Farnatchi burns at a ferocious temperature heating pipes transporting hot water and steam to the Hamman.

In  charge of the Farnatchi at the Hamman local to Riad Cinnamon is Gnawa who is also a talented musician

Stay in one of our Marrakech Riads in the heart of the Medina and the old town is on your doorstep. Reserve accommodation today!

There are a number of shops in the Marrakech Souks specialising in tassels. Our favourite is located in the Souk Cherifa, just five minutes from Riad Papillon and Riad Cinnamon.

Our luxury Riads are the perfect base from which to explore the ancient medina. Reserve accommodation today!

Leave a Comment

Gnawa, or Gnaoua , trance music is a familiar sound in the place Jema al Fna, Marrakech. Visitors and locals alike gather around groups of musicians to share a unique experience. Gnawa is a mixture of African, Berber and Arabic religious songs and rhythms. The music is considered both a prayer and a celebration of life. Many of the influences that formed this music can be traced to sub-Saharan Africa.

Gnawa MarrakeshIn a Gnawa song, one phrase or a few lines are repeated over and over throughout a particular song though the song may last a long time. In fact, a song may last several hours non-stop. The norm, though, is that what seems to the uninitiated to be one long song is actually a series of chants, which has to do with describing the various spirits, so what seems to be a 20 minute piece may be a whole series of pieces. Because they are intended for listeners in a state of trance, these pieces go on and on, provoking trance from different angles.

The melodic language of the stringed instrument is closely related to their vocal music and to their speech patterns, as is the case in much African music. This is the language of the blues. Gnawa have venerable stringed-instrument traditions involving both bowed lutes like the gogo and plucked lutes like the gimbri also called hajhuj. The Gnawa also use large drums called tbel and krakeb, large iron castanets, a familiar sight in tourist photographs since they are carried by the colourful water sellers in the Jema al Fna. The Gnawa hajhuj has strong historical and musical links to West African lutes like the Hausa halam, a direct ancestor of the banjo.

 Gnawa musiciansGnawa hajhuj players use a technique which 19th century American minstrel banjo instruction manuals identify as “brushless drop-thumb frailing”. The “brushless” part means the fingers do not brush several strings at once to make chords. Instead, the thumb drops repeatedly in a hypnotically rhythmic pattern against the freely-vibrating bass string producing a throbbing drone, while the first two or three fingers of the same (right) hand pick out, often percussive patterns in a drum-like, almost telegraphic manner.

Gnawa MusiciansDuring the last few decades, Gnawa music has been modernizing and thus becoming more profane. Within the framework of the Gnaoua World Music Festival of Essaouira (“Gnaoua and Musics of the World”), the Gnawa play in a profane context with few religious or therapeutic dimensions. Instead, in this musical expression of their cultural art, they share the stage with other musicians coming from the other cultures. 

As a result, Gnawa music has taken a new direction fusing its core spiritual music with similar genres like jazz, blues, reggae, and hip-hop. Every summer for four days in June, the Festival welcomes musicians that come to participate, exchange and mix their own music with Gnawa, creating one of the largest public festivals in Morocco as well as one of the best jam sessions on the planet.

Leave a Comment