SEMA Presents: INNOV GNAWA

An evening of Gnawan Trance music, Persian mystical poetry, and Sufi dance with Innov Gnawa, Haleh Liza, and Juliet Rabea.
Gnawan Trance is the ritual trance music of Morocco, merging ancient African traditions, rhythms, and song with Sufi poetry and music. This unique genre of music was created by sub-Saharan Africans once enslaved in Morocco and further developed by their descendants. Often called “Moroccan Blues,”
Gnawan music has a raw, hypnotic power that’s fascinated outsiders as diverse as Jimi Hendrix, Paul Bowles, and Randy Weston, and continues to mesmerize growing audiences across the world.

This powerful musical tradition was originally shared in homes and intimate spaces with the hope of bringing healing and well-being to a family or community. With this intention, it often induces feelings of liberation and ecstasy. Prepare for a deep journey of listening and dance.

Tickets: $35 / free for members of The Assemblage

Innov Gnawa
Innov Gnawa is a Grammy-nominated musical collective dedicated to exploring Morocco’s venerable Gnawa music tradition in the heart of NYC. Formed in the summer of 2014 by Moroccan expat Samir Langus, the group draws on the considerable talents and expertise of Hassan Ben Jaafer, A Maalem, or master Gnawan musician, originally from Fez, Morocco. Under the guidance of Ben Jaafer, Innov Gnawa has delved deep into the roots and rituals of Gnawan music and has made a big splash in NYC, playing some of the city’s most prestigious rooms including Lincoln Center, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn Bowl, and the storied backroom of Brooklyn’s Barbes. Innov Gnawa has also collaborated and shared the stage with such luminaries as Bonobo and Antibalas.

Hailed by Brooklyn Magazine as one of the “5 Bands You Need to Know” in Brooklyn’s Arabic music scene, Innov Gnawa make great use of a traditional repertoire and add their own contemporary spin with additional African and Latin percussion. This exciting new outfit fuses a centuries old North African tradition with the pulse and attitude of NYC.

Haleh Liza
Haleh Liza is a poet, composer, vocalist, and translator born in NYC of Iranian descent whose work reflects her love for both her Persian mystical roots and for the animist songs of certain South American healing traditions. For the last 10 years, she has been learning, digging, composing, mining, translating, and sharing the gems with friends, family, and community within Brooklyn and beyond. Haleh’s poetry has been published by Columbia University Press and she has performed across the country and in Europe at Universities and venues such as Lincoln Center, Omega Institute, and the Bonnaroo Festival. She recently completed a manuscript featuring new translations of select poems from Rumi’s Divan-i-Shams.

Juliet Rabea
Juliet Rabea is a writer, Sufi adept and performance artist. She is a spiritual representative of Shaykha Fariha al-Jerrahi of the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Sufi Dergah based in Tribeca. She teaches Sufi whirling (Sema), chanting and frame drumming in NYC.

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Event Details
  • Start Date
    April 12, 2019 7:00 pm
  • End Date
    April 12, 2019 10:00 pm
  • Location
  • Venue
  • Category
  • Address
    The Assemblage 17 John Street, New York, New York 10038