The Master Musicians of Joujouka visited the UK last week for their first shows in London since 1980 and an appearance opening the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival.
The Master Musicians were in the UK last week for a series of special performances, including a two-night London residency and a return to Glastonbury Festival, where they opened the Pyramid Stage on Friday afternoon.
The group’s tour began with two nights of concerts at The Forge in Camden on 20th and 21st June, representing their first appearances in London since 1980.
The Master Musicians then travelled to Somerset to open the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival on 23rd June.
The performances were well received not just by crowds, but also in the press, and here we compile selected highlights of coverage reporting on their triumphant appearances.
The Guardian previewed the tour with a special feature by Robin Denselow reporting from the festival held in the village earlier in the month. Denselow wrote: “Playing trance-inducing music that has existed for centuries, the Master Musicians invite us to rural Morocco to experience it up close – complete with gods in goat skins.”
Read the feature ‘People want the healing power’: Master Musicians of Joujouka, the mystical Moroccans opening Glastonbury in full here
While in London the group travelled to Soho Radio headquarters to perform a live set, recorded at Are You Mad studios, followed by an interview with Abdellah Ziyat for Max Reinhardt’s Late Late Lunch Show.
Listen back to the show, with live recording at 2hr 2mins 42 and interview at 2hr 22mins here
At Glastonbury Festival the group were recorded by BBC film crews for the BBC ONE Breakfast show.
The clip was broadcast during the end credits of the morning news digest as part of their festival preview here
The Guardian reviewed the Master Musicians of Joujouka’s appearance opening the Pyramid Stage as part of their rolling live coverage from Day One of the festival.
Ben Beaumont-Thomas wrote: “Opening the Pyramid stage – and therefore, spiritually speaking, the whole festival – are The Master Musicians of Joujouka, hailing from a village in the Ahl-Srif mountains in Morocco and playing a style of music that has existed for over a thousand years. Listening to it, you feel caught up in an eternal stream of sound: this is an unbroken performance of drones, fluting melodic patterns and hypnotic drums. Those melodies are played on ghaitas, reed instruments that look and sound like a cross between a clarinet and bagpipe chanter with serpentine and immersive notes that chafe against each other as they surge forward. The drums wouldn’t be out of place in a Hessle Audio techno set elsewhere in the fest: settling into a swaying rhythm that’s then twisted by the arrival of another competing bit.
“This being Glasto, people will try and clap along with anything but they quickly give up and get swept into this updraft of cosmic sound. It’s not po-faced though – each master comes out for an occasional shoulder shimmy, and halfway through arrives the village’s septuagenarian cafe owner, who moonlights as pagan goat god Boujeloud, waving olive branches and working the crowd like a pop pro (must be bloody boiling in his goat skins though). We’re suddenly released from the trance and the crowd roars. “Bit of a one hit wonder!” one bloke jokes – yeah, but what a hit.”
Read the report in full here
News agency Reuters highlighted the Master Musicians’ Pyramid Stage appearance as part of their festival coverage.
Sachin Ravikumar wrote: “Glastonbury Festival’s main Pyramid Stage opened on Friday to the sounds of The Master Musicians of Joujouka, a trance music collective from Morocco, as tens of thousands of fans kicked off three days of music and merrymaking under a blazing English sun.
“The Master Musicians of Joujouka, who also played at Glastonbury in 2011, belong to a centuries-old musical tradition with Sufi roots that gained greater attention after a collaboration with the Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones in the 1960s.”
Read Moroccan trance collective kick off music at Glastonbury here
The Financial Times wrote: “The Master Musicians of Joujouka are a traditional Moroccan troupe whose pipe and percussion wall-of-sound drowned out the electronic whump-whump-whump of nearby sound systems. To ears untrained in the nuances of Sufi trance music, they resembled a Scottish bagpipe ensemble playing free jazz, a formidable sonic proposition.”
Read the report in full here
The Master Musicians of Joujouka’s appearance at the UK’s biggest pop music festival also reached audiences in Morocco.
Morocco World News reported that their appearance at Glastonbury was “an opportunity for the Master Musicians of Joujouka to share their cultural heritage with audiences from around the world.
“The Master Musicians of Joujouka, hailing from a centuries-old musical tradition with Sufi roots, fascinated the crowds with their unique blend of rhythmic grooves and enchanting melodies.
“The collective’s previous appearance at Glastonbury in 2011 had already garnered considerable attention, but their return this year cemented their position as ambassadors of Moroccan music and cultural heritage.”
Read Moroccan Joujouka Music Takes Center Stage at Glastonbury Festival in England here
UK broadcaster ITV said: “The Master Musicians of Joujouka have kicked off the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2023.
“The group of 10 Sufi musicians from a village in the southern Rif Mountains in Morocco opened the main stage this year with a form of trance beats which are said to be “used for healing”.
“They played a range of drums and woodwind-type instruments while donning brown robes over a white shirt with a cream headpiece.
“They were introduced to the stage with the host saying: ‘Good morning Glastonbury, we have a fantastic band to start us off with here on the Pyramid Stage – The Master Musicians of Joujouka.’”
Read Glastonbury Festival 2023: Music gets underway on the Pyramid Stage here
A special report on the Master Musicians of Joujouka was also featured on the BBC Global News Podcast. Presented by reporter Richard Hamilton, the dispatch included live recordings from the Pyramid Stage.
Listen back to the Global News Podcast here
*** UPDATE *** Adding more reports as they come in (8 July 2023)
A feature on the Master Musicians of Joujouka was published in the Financial Times, with a report on the recent Joujouka 23 Festival held in the village.
The Master Musicians of Joujouka “offer an ecstatic experience” wrote Mark Kidel,previewing the group’s UK appearances.
The article ‘Healing and transcendence with the Master Musicians of Joujouka’ said: “The Masters have toured the world since 1980 and later this month, for the second time, the Masters play the opening set on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury festival, after two dates in London.
Read the article ‘Healing and transcendence with the Master Musicians of Joujouka’ in full here. The article was also published in the 17 June edition of the newspaper
A review published in All About Jazz reported on the second night of the Master Musicians of Joujouka residency at The Forge in London.
Chris May said: “The size of the Master Musicians’ lineup is flexible. In Joujouka itself, the ensemble runs into several dozen. At The Forge it was nine musicians and a dancer, the largest number the stage can agreeably accommodate. The intensity was off the scale. Six double-reed rhaita players and three drummers jammed, without a break, for two high-decibel, elemental hours, as measured in earth time. For the last half hour, they were joined by a goatskin-clad shaman channeling Bou Jeloud, a.k.a. Pan, who struck the shoulders of every audience member within reach with a couple of leafy branches. In Joujouka, Bou Jeloud’s touch is believed to transmit fertility.”
Read the review in full at All About Jazz here
The BBC News website has published an extensive feature on the Master Musicians of Joujouka following their appearance at Glastonbury Festival.
The article Master Musicians of Joujouka: The Moroccan band who wowed Glastonbury is a report by Richard Hamilton, who attended recent concerts in London and Glastonbury Festival with the Master Musicians.
Hamilton wrote: “For hundreds of years the Master Musicians of Joujouka have performed in their local village of the same name in northern Morocco, handing down their unique sounds of drums and pipes from generation to generation.
“But recently they opened the Glastonbury Festival in the south-west of England, one of the world’s biggest open-air music events.”
The article includes interviews with members of the group and Rikki Stein, whose relationship with the Master Musicians dates back to his time living in Joujouka from 1971.
Read the article Master Musicians of Joujouka: The Moroccan band who wowed Glastonbury in full here
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