The Master Musicians of Joujouka in full flight – tour diary report in Songlines magazine

Master Musicians of Joujouka tour diary by Robin Denselow in the latest edition of Songlines

Recent festival in Morocco and UK tour report featured in the latest edition of Songlines.

Fifty years since his first visit to Joujouka in 1973, Robin Denselow returned to Morocco to experience the annual festival in the village – and then followed the Master Musicians of Joujouka on their recent UK tour, including festival opening set at Glastonbury.

The August-September 2023 edition of Songlines magazine features Denselow’s tour diary report of his experiences.

In June, Denselow attended the Master Musicians of Joujouka festival, and then joined the group on the road for their two-night residency at The Forge in Camden, London, ahead of the group’s Pyramid Stage opening set at Glastonbury Festival.

Denselow said: “It’s amazing to be back [in Joujouka], especially as I’m with Rikki Stein, friend and manager of the late, great Fela Kuti. I first met Rikki when I was invited to Joujouka back in 1973. Jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman and the writer William S Burroughs were also here, and the musicians played for hours out in the mud square, creating the most extraordinary, intense and trance-inducing sounds I had ever heard.

“Now, it’s more organised. The new generation of musicians have flattened the earth at the top of an olive grove next to their little HQ to provide a stage covered in carpets and a striped awning. Will it be the same intense experience? I shouldn’t have worried.”

Reporting on the Master Musicians of Joujouka’s Glastonbury show Robin Denselow enthused: “They sound as intense, and attacking and as sophisticated as they did in Joujouka. […] They still sound as thrilling, joyful and unique as they did back in their village in Morocco.”

Read the article Moroccan Dance Party in full in the August-September 2023 edition of Songlines available now from all good newsagents and here

The Moroccan band who wowed Glastonbury – Master Musicians of Joujouka profile by BBC News

The BBC News website has published an extensive feature on the Master Musicians of Joujouka following their appearance at Glastonbury Festival.

A report on the Master Musicians of Joujouka’s recent UK tour has been published by BBC News.

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.”

Hamilton interviewed members of the group and Rikki Stein, whose relationship with the Master Musicians dates back to his time living in Joujouka in 1971. Stein said: “I was so blown away by what I found there, that I tore up my return ticket and stayed in the village for a couple of years.”

Ghaita player Abdeslam Rrtoubi said: “When you play the ghaita, you become part of a great sound. I love seeing people moved by the music. It can also help me to play it on my own, whenever I need to calm myself. The audiences and the support we get from them with their dancing and their happiness is a gift to us.”

Lead drummer Ahmed El Attar added: “The music of Joujouka cannot disappear from here because the children who go to school in the village learn the music and it’s our heritage. If the music stopped in Joujouka, it would be as if there’s no more music in the world.”

Read the article Master Musicians of Joujouka: The Moroccan band who wowed Glastonbury in full here

A special report on the Master Musicians of Joujouka was also featured on the BBC Global News Podcast. Presented by the same reporter Richard Hamilton, the dispatch included live recordings from the Pyramid Stage.

Listen back to the Global News Podcast here

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