News overview

Exhibition: Jola (Jan-Feb)

Hidden Gnawa music from Brussels
11 January 2023

The Gnawa are a fraternal community in Morocco known for its ritual and musical practices that blend animism, Islam, ancestor worship, and veneration of saints. Brussels is considered the European capital of the Gnawa: about 40 musicians are currently living in Brussels.

The “Jola” project brought together for the first time Brussels m’allemin (masters) and koyo (musician-dancers) on an album. In the Moroccan Arabic dialect, ‘jola’ denotes a necessary step in the initiation to the ‘tagnawit’, “the way of the Gnawa”. Each student follows in the footsteps of a licensed master, but his training is not considered complete until he has made the “tour” from city to city to meet other musicians, learn other techniques and discover other worlds of sound.

The photo exhibition features the work of Dieter Telemans, a photo journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, The Independent and National Geographic. In 2017 he received the Nikon prize for best Belgian news photography. Dieter has been involved in Muziekpublique projects for almost twenty years and makes portraits of musicians from all over the world, who have since settled in Brussels. Thanks to his sharp eye and his sensitivity, Dieter knows how to tell and capture stories from the faces and looks, which we find in the musical albums. For example, Dieter captured the portraits of the 17 Moroccan-Brussels artists who contributed to the album “Jola”.

In collaboration with Darna vzw.