As the world’s second-largest and second-most populous continent, there is much more to African music than just African drumming. Gnawa, also known as Ethno-Pop or Gnawi Blues, comes from the Sahara Desert and is one example from Africa’s diverse musical styles. Gnawa is based around a north African repertoire of ancient African spiritual religious songs and rhythms. Its well-preserved heritage combines ritual poetry with traditional music and dance. Gnawa is a music style that spread from West Africa, the Sudan, and the Southern Sahara through centuries of migration until it reached Morocco.
Hassan Hakmoun (born 1963) is a New York City-based Moroccan musician. He specialises in the Gnawa style. Hassan’s music is rooted in his playing of the sintir. The sintir is a three stringed skin-covered bass plucked lute used by the Gnawa people. It is approximately the size of a guitar, with a body carved from a log and covered on the playing side with camel skin. The neck is a simple stick with one short and two long goat strings that produce a percussive sound similar to a double bass.