Friday, May 30, 2014

Hassan Hakmoun, Unity

Traditional Gnawa music from Morocco has something to it that is hard to resist. The three-stringed bass instrument called the sintir sets up riff ostinatos, a group of percussionists get with the groove and there are solo vocals and response choruses with plenty of soul.

It now seems inevitable that such a music would find someone to update the music by fusing it with riff-bluesy rock. Hassan Hakmoun, excellent sintir player and vocalist, has electrified his instrument, added metal-blues guitar and rock-funk drums to the mix and created a hybrid music that works completely.

You can hear it to excellent advantage on his latest album, Unity (Healing Records). The album goes from strength-to-strength in an unending string of movingly hip numbers. Anyone with the ears for Afro-groove and hard rock-blues will be drawn into this one right away, I would think, like I was.

It is a music of great excitement! Go with it!