News overview

Gnawa Festival

25 February 2020

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.

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 organises a FESTIVAL GNAWA.

The festival takes place in different places in Brussels. Come to the Music Conference in Darna and learn more about the Gnawa community in Brussels. During the event “Broodje Brussel: the Gnawa-Pular Connection” we will make the link between the guembri of North Africa and the hoddu, instrument of West Africa. The ancestors of the Gnawa were brought from sub-Saharan Africa to Morocco by bringing with them melodies, rhythms and instruments from their country of origin. With Driss Filali and Malick Pathe Sow, we present two key figures from the African diaspora.

The festival also includes two lila’s (“night” in Moroccan dialect). A lila is a ritual of trance that lasts an entire night to honour the entities of the invisible world, the Saints and God. For this unique occasion, the lila leaves the family setting where it is generally practiced and takes place at the GC Vaartkapoen and the Center Culturel Jacques Franck. A lila generally starts at dusk and includes a succession of dances and songs performed in a specific order which vary according to the objective of the ritual, the region of origin of the musicians and participants and the contexts of performance. All activities are free.

Please note, for certain events, it is important to book in advance.


Th 27 Febr 2020 | 18h @ Darna: Musical Conference : Gnawa Music in Brussels

Th 5 March 2020 | 18h30 @ CC Jacques Franck: Cd-release JOLA & Lila – mystical Gnawa ceremony

Th 19 March 2020 | 12h30 @Muziekpublique: Broodje Brussel : the Gnawa-Pular Connection

Wed 15 April 2020 | 18h30 @ GC Vaartkapoen: Lila – mystical Gnawa ceremony


Plus d’infos : https://www.facebook.com/JOLA-Hidden-Gnawa-Music-in-Brussels-103974054477700/