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King Mohammed VI's Honor
for Randy Weston long life commitment
to Morocco's Gnawa Music Tradition



May 11, 2011

Randy Weston did receive His Majesty King Mohammed VI's honor for his lifelong engagement with Morocco and deep commitment to bringing Morocco's Gnawa music tradition to the attention of the Western world.

His collaborator of over 50 years, Gnawa maestro Malem Abdellah El Gourd was present for the occasion and was also honored.
Mr. Azoulay did represent His Majesty the King for this occasion.

The great NEA Jazz Master, Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship winner, and Chevalier in France's Order of Arts and Letters Randy Weston has contributed six decades of musical direction and genius to the world. He remains one of the world's foremost pianists and composers today, a true innovator and visionary. Encompassing the vast rhythmic heritage of Africa, his global creations musically continue to inform and inspire.

He has had a deep commitment to Morocco and the Gnawa culture since the 1960s when he was introduced to the world of the Gnawa by maestro Malem Abdellah El Gourd who represents the Tangiers Gnawa tradition. Malem Abdellah El Gourd and Mr. Weston have collaborated together in concert presentations throughout the world including at an unprecedented concert at the Canterbury Cathedral in England.

The Autobiography of Randy Weston (Duke University Press, 2010), Mr. Weston recounts his experiences living in Morocco for seven years, where he ran the African Rhythms Club from 1967 to 1962, and describes the beauty of Morocco and its people.
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