The Forgotten Ones


In one of the earliest scenes of Elder’s Corner, the culturally significant, long in the works documentary about Nigeria’s forgotten musical heroes, highlife maestro Sir Victor Uwaifo summarizes the film’s central thesis with the following words.  “It must be the devil’s trick to be born in a country where neither soul nor talent is appreciated,” […]

Redreaming the Sound


I.    Among all the genres of music I heard constantly as a child, classical music came to me and stayed. Growing up as the son of a clergyman in a close-knit family immersed in religious rituals, music was a constant tie that held each passing day and gave meaning to my preoccupations. My family […]

Gnawa Music and the Making of Dark-skinned Moroccan Identity


Morocco’s reputation as a demographically heterogeneous country is perhaps one of its internationally recognizable characteristics. The presence of many ethnic groups, mainly dark-skinned people, is clear proof that traces of the Trans-Saharan trade are still unquestionably vivid. Ostrich eggs, salt, and jewelry were among the goods traded across the Sahara. Nevertheless, those, unfortunately, were not […]