Concerts overview

The Release of the CD ‘Jola - Hidden Gnawa Music in Brussels’

A mystical ceremony - Gnawa Festival
Thursday 5 March 2020 - 18h30
CC Jacques Franck - Chaussee De Waterloo 94, 1060 Saint-Gilles
THU 05/03

On the occasion of the release of JOLA, Hidden Gnawa Music in Brussels, a CD made around the heritage of the Brussels Gnawa musicians, Muziekpublique and the Centre Culturel Jacques Franck get together to offer you a lila, a mystical Gnawa ceremony.  This is, of course, a generous and exceptional invitation.


The Gnawa community originated during the period of Sub-Saharan slavery in Morocco.  During the last twenty years, a Gnawa community has settled down in Brussels, becoming the largest Gnawa community outside of Morocco.  Its representatives meet regularly in order to celebrate the lila, a ritual consisting of states of trance and possession, which honors the entities of the invisible worlds, the Saints and God.


Nourished by animistic, Sufi and popular Moroccan references, the lilas (meaning “night” in the dialect) generally start at nightfall.  Dances and songs, executed in a precise order, follow each other and vary according to the ritual’s objective, to the region of its origin, to the musicians or participants, and to the context of the performance.




  • 6:30 pm Introduction to the lila (in the form of a conference or exchange) par Hélène Sechehaye (at the Pianofabriek) 
  • 7 pm Beginning of the tambourine parade
  • 7:30 pm The parade arrives at the CC Jacques Franck 
  • 8 pm The ceremony begins
  • 24h00 the sharing of the meal



The drinks (water, tea) and the traditional meal will be prepared by the musicians’ next of kin.  Exceptionally, the bar of the CC Jacques Franck will be closed.  During the ceremony, we will be invited to sit on pillows, onstage, around the musicians.


A link to read a publication of Hélène Sechehaye and Stéphanie Weisser about the Gnawa musicians in Brussels (in French):




Abdelwahid Stitou, Rida Stitou, Driss Benjaafar and Abderrahmane Benjaafar & the Brussels Gnawas.

FREE – online reservation advised.


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