For this special occasion, Asmaa Hamzaoui & Bnat Timbouktou are not only celebrating their debut at Salam Orient in Austria, they also writing history as the first all-female Gnawa band. Asmaa Hamzaoui is a true musical pioneer. At barely 20 years old, she is the leader of the Bnat Tombouctou (Daughters of Timbuktu) group, and is one of the youngest and very rare female ambassadors of Gnawa culture. Traditionally, playing the guembri - a plucked lute played in a percussive style - is reserved for men. She inherited her passion from her father, the renowned Maâlem Rachid Hamzaoui and succeeded in creating a devoted fan base for herself and the group. Their debut album Oulad Lghaba is to be published in 2019. Asmaa's expressive voice forms the centre of this trance-like and hypnotic music surrounded by the rhythmic melodies of the Guembri. Together with the accompanying singing of the other musicians, the clapping and rattling of the iron Qarqaba creates an ecstatic atmosphere. "It makes us feel like we're grounded," says Asmaa referring to the importance of spiritual Gnawa music.
Asmaa Hamzaoui (lead vocals & guembri)
Aicha Hamzaoui (vocals & qraqab)
Soukaina Elmeliji (vocals & qraqab)
Lamgammah Hind (vocals & qraqab)