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Gnaoua people originated from West Africa, more precisely from the ancient Ghana Empire. These people are known to play a hypnotic trance music using instruments such as the Guembri and cymbals accompanied by singing and clapping. Gnaoua music is also characterized by dancing and wearing colorful costumes.

Gnaoua music is composed of 3 parts of the Lila (Al Ada, Oulad Bambara, and Mlouks). There are also other regional variants such as the performances of Isamgane (Gnaoua Amazighs), the Northern version the Sebtiyyine (Jewish Gnaoua) and the pre-Saharan Gangas.

Few years ago, the Gnaoua people were street musicians in Morocco. However, the annual Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival was created as a universal recognition of Gnaoua art and music. Artists come mainly from Morocco and sub-saharan Africa but also from around the world to contribute in the dissemination of all types of music and to deliver a message of peace, openness and humanism.