Gnawa's musical heritage has its roots deeply embedded in Morocco and North Africa's history where it has evolved through out the centuries, decades and years to become the fabled world music genre that it is today. One of Morocco's biggest gnawa acts in modern history is Nass El Ghiwane who reached global fame in the ‘70s with their eclectic take on gnawa that combined the traditional Moroccan genre with various styles and elements, resulting in their own unique gnawa blend that was dubbed 'the ghiwani style’ and in turn led to them being dubbed “The Rolling Stones of Africa”.
Years and generations later, two of the group's original members Allal Yaala and Redouane Raifak re-joined forces to form the new trans-generational project Nass El Hal who gave us their March 2019 album Quand comprendras-tu? or When will you understand?
After the aforementioned release, El Nass El Hal were keen to re-invent their Ghiwani style and fuse it with the sounds of today's electronic music scene. Through cherry picking between many regional and international producers, Nass El Hal settled on a number of household name regional producers producers such as Morocco's very own Adil Hiani, Syria's Hello Psychaleppo, Tunisian acts Arabstazy and Ammar 808 and French act Ghost of Christmas to remix and rework their album.
Released under the French label Sans Commentaire, the tracks on Nass El Hal Remixes / Quand Comprendras Tu? have managed to fuse Nass El Hal's unique form of gnawa with house, techno, electronica and more - from Ammar 808's bass heavy reworking of a ‘Ma Bqa Khire’ where he re-interprets the genre’s hypnotism with flairs of electronica, to Adil Hiani's remix of ‘A Ya Maskine’ which sees a more IDM direction with ambient influences and subtle breakbeats, to Hello Psyhaleppo's hard hitting D’n’B remix of ‘Daqet Bina’ that had featured occasional retro synth hits, to Tunisian Arabstazy's dark and ominous remix of the same track which flips it around in the opposite direction making it sound like a David Fincher score.
While French producer Ghost of Christmas managed to effortlessly fuse the gnawa flavored vocals of ‘Haragtou Faddani’ with sleek and polished deep house, French Lebanese producer Arabian Panther's remix of a ‘Ya Maskine’ had an undeniable air of ‘80s new wave to it, constructed upon a repeating arpeggiated bass line and shabby detuned synth hits. And while the Lithuanian based Fenixprod’s remix of ‘El Bchara’ was filled with shuffling beats and snappy synth lines, Tunisia’s Azu Tiwaline percussive-heavy reworking of ‘Khoutna’ focused on highlighting the rich complex polyrhythms of gnawa, its entrancement and contrasting sounds, styles and different musical POVs that render this remix LP as a unique musical project with a transcendental power of continuing and modernizing the legacy of one of Morocco's most prominent gnawa acts.