Entrancing Miami: Morocco’s Innov Gnawa

MDC Live Arts and Rhythm Foundation present a Spellbinding Night of North African Tradition 

Miami, April 23, 2018 – Miami Dade College’s (MDC) MDC Live Arts and Rhythm Foundation will co- present a mystical evening of Moroccan music with Innov Gnawa at 8 p.m., Saturday, May 5 at the North Beach Bandshell.

For the uninitiated, gnawa is the ritual trance music of Morocco’s black communities, originally descended from slaves and soldiers once brought over from Northern Mali and Mauritania. The music is believed to heal people possessed by jinn, or spirits, and is played on an array of traditional instruments — from the lute-like sintir that the Maâlem (master) uses to call the tune, to the qarqaba (metallic castanets) with which the kouyos (chorus) keeps time and pounds out clattering, hypnotic rhythms. Its extended song-chants performed by singer-dancers speak of spiritual and cultural ceremony as well as man’s life in the earthly realm. Often called “The Moroccan Blues”, gnawa music has a raw, spellbinding power that’s fascinated outsiders from writer/composer Paul Bowles to jazz giant Randy Weston and rock legend Jimi Hendrix.

Innov Gnawa is a young, Brooklyn-based musical collective dedicated to exploring this venerable music tradition. Formed in the summer of 2014 by Moroccan expat Samir LanGus, the group draws on the expertise of master maâlem Hassan Ben Jaafer from Fes, Morocco. Under his guidance, Innov Gnawa delved deep into the roots and rituals of gnawa music and added their own contemporary spin, incorporating African and Latin percussion and giving the centuries-old North African tradition a bit of New York flavor. The resulting sound has been voraciously received at their performances at Lincoln Center, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn Bowl, Terminal 5, and Celebrate Brooklyn, as well Coachella, Red Rocks Amphitheater, and The Cleveland Museum of Art. The group was recently nominated for a Grammy for their collaboration with Bonobo, and has been hailed by Brooklyn Magazine as one of the “5 Bands You Need to Know in Brooklyn’s Arabic Music Scene.”

This inspired event will include souk-inspired goods, foods, and refreshments for purchase. It marks a collaboration between MDC Live Arts, whose Ojala/Inshallah: Wishes from the Muslim World season is designed to explore the diversity of Muslim culture through the arts and challenge widespread assumptions concerning contemporary Muslim identity; and The Rhythm Foundation, whose Axis of Love series seeks to inject positivity and empathy into the global conversation through presenting instrumental, traditional and innovative sounds from the conflict zones of the Middle East and Africa.


WHAT:              MDC Live Arts & Rhythm Foundation present Innov Gnawa


WHEN:             Saturday, May. 5, 8 p.m.


WHERE:           North Beach Bandshell, 7275 Collins Ave Miami Beach FL 33141


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To purchase tickets, please visit http://www.rhythmfoundation.com/

Tickets are $20 advance/ $28 day of show.


About MDC Live Arts

MDC Live Arts is Miami’s most eclectic performing arts series. Created in 1990 as Cultura del Lobo, MDC Live Arts has a celebrated history of bringing extraordinary national and international performing artists to Miami. The annual series presents today’s most exciting artists and designs meaningful engagement between these artists, the students of MDC, and the greater community. MDC Live Arts seeks artists from across the globe who push boundaries and honor traditions relevant to Miami’s diverse community, and aims to offer audiences opportunities to discover new ideas, perspectives and forms of expression. For more information, please visit www.mdclivearts.org.

Ojalá/Inshallah: Wishes from The Muslim World is made possible by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art’s Building Bridges Program. The Building Bridges Program is the grant-making arm of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, which is an extension of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The program supports national efforts to advance relationships, increase understanding, and reduce bias between Muslim and non-Muslim communities. The mission of DDFIA is to promote the study, understanding and appreciation of Muslim arts and cultures. For more information, please visit www.ddcf.org/what-we-fund/building-bridges.

The programs of MDC Live Arts are made possible with the generous support of: Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council; the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; the National Endowment for the Arts; and National Performance Network (NPN). MDC Live Arts is a Partner of the National Performance Network (NPN). Major NPN contributors include the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Amal is a National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network (NPN/VAN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by MDC Live Arts in partnership with Su Teatro, MACLA and NPN/VAN.

About The Rhythm Foundation

The Rhythm Foundation, a Miami Beach-based non-profit cultural organization, is a leading presenter of world music in the U.S. It was founded in 1988 with the goal of increasing international awareness through live music – concerts, events and festivals by established and innovative artists from around the world. Special focus is given to those cultures connecting to South Florida audiences – music from Brazil, Latin America, Africa, the Caribbean, Asia and Europe. In 2015 the City of Miami Beach awarded management of the North Beach Bandshell to the Rhythm Foundation, who are now creating exciting year-round programming at this architectural gem. For more information, please visit RhythmFoundation.com.

Axis of Love is made possible with the support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge. The Knight Arts Challenge funds the best ideas for engaging and enriching communities through the arts. Victoria Rogers, Vice President of Arts for Knight Foundation, said: “Few things can bring people together like the arts. Events like this series are a great prism for exploring our and other cultures, and for finding the threads that unite us all.”

The programs of The Rhythm Foundation are made possible with the generous support from the City of Miami Beach, the Department of Tourism and Cultural Development; the City of Miami Beach, Cultural Affairs Program, Cultural Arts Council; Miami Beach Mayor and City Commissioners; Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council; the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

MDC Live Arts Contacts: Alexa Burneikis, Marketing Manager, 305-237-7733, aburneik@mdc.edu

The Rhythm Foundation Contacts: Karla Arguello, Communications Director, 305-672-5202, karla@rhythmfoundation.org.