This panel brings together Gnawa musicians Maalem Marouane and Maalem Younes as well as capoeira practitioners Mestre Pastel and Mestre Americano. The artists—featured in Hassan Hajjaj’s documentary Gnawa Capoeira Brothahood—and Hajjaj discuss the layered cultural histories of these practices in a conversation moderated by Surafel W. Abebe, Assistant Professor of Performance Studies and Theory at The Africa Institute. Despite sharing a similar history and spirituality, both Gnawa music and capoeira possess a unique cultural identity. Rooted in the ancient Moroccan and West-African heritage of the Gnawa people, Gnawa music is a rich blend of traditional and spiritual melodies, rhythms, dance and ritual poetry that can be traced back to the time of slavery. Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art form that blends acrobatic movements, music and dance, and was originally practiced by enslaved Africans at the beginning of the sixteenth century. This session will take us on a journey into the enchanting worlds of Gnawa and capoeira.

Translation from Arabic and Portuguese to English will be provided.


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This event is free and open to the public.