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
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.