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Hassan Hakmoun

Hassan Hakmoun

Biography

A dynamic live performer, Hassan Hakmoun has brought the sintir (a three stringed bass-like guitar) and the traditional Gnawa music of Morocco to the attention of world music audiences. Raised with the musical traditions of his Sudanese-descended ancestors in Marrakech, Hakmoun is steeped in the Arabic chants, drumming, and acrobatic dance, which are all components of tagnawit folklore. A deeply rhythmic music that uses pentatonic melodies, Gnawa songs are part of ceremonies such as healing rituals. Often called "trance music," song structures build steadily with complex syncopation and rhythmic density. Hakmoun relocated to France, and then to New York City in the '80s where he received critical attention at WOMAD festivals. In the '90s he made solo recordings, performed with his World Fusion group Zahar, and worked with groups such as the Kronos Quartet, Adam Rudolph and Don Cherry. His charismatic personality, boundless energy, and musical adventurousness have helped sculpt new musical paradigms.

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