Majid Bekkas, oud and guembri virtuoso, guitar professor and singer, has long been a star in his home country Morocco. Over the last few years, he has found his way into the European jazz scene through his collaborations with Archie Shepp, Louis Sclavis, Flavio Boltro or Klaus Doldinger. Abdelmajid Bekkas was born and still lives in Salé, Morocco. He studied classical guitar and oud at the National Conservatory of Music and Dance in Rabat and learnt Gnawa music through the teachings of the master Ba Houmane. Gnawa appeared in the 16th century. During the conquest of Sudan, Ahmed El Mansour Dahbi set up the first trading and cultural links between Timbuktu, near Zagora where Bekkas comes from, and Marrakech.
The secular music is still considered the "healer of souls" from Essaouira to Marrakech, easily
understandable when you listen to the spellbinding sound of Bekkas´ voice, guembri and guitar.
Like a watermark, the mystery of Africa can be felt in the backround, alongside the blues. Gnawa´s intact purity is the essence of the authenticity. By claiming to be part of Africa, the mother of the blues and ist numerous offspring such as funk, Bekkas is placing Gnawa in its primary dimension. By opening the spectrum (including elements of contemporary western music), Bekkas attains a universal status that is nurtured by the path he travelled. These include: jazz, alongside pioneers such as Peter Brötzmann, Archie Shepp, Flavio Boltro, Louis Sclavis.
Bekkas´ openness and ability to balance modernism and memory with a rare talent that knews no compromise, frees the music from the stamp of time. The memory is that of pain and wisdom, of songs that come from the slaves of Africa.