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In Morocco, Young Women are Reclaiming the Centuries Old Art of Gnaoua 

They are bringing a new and inclusive energy to the spiritual musical repertoire that gained worldwide popularity after it was listed by UNESCO as intangible culture heritage in 2019. Asma Hamzaoui is the frontwoman of the all-female “Bnat Timbouktou”, or The Girls of Timbuktu. The 26-year-old Casablanca native is one of the first women to perform Gnaoua, which blends African rhythms with spiritual chants and poetry. Originally practised by enslaved people and dating back at least to the 16th century, Gnaoua has gone from being practised largely in private gatherings, where therapeutic rituals accompanied the music, to public events such as concerts and festivals. The Gnaoua festival held every summer in Essaouira has been promoting Gnaoua culture worldwide since 1997.