Postcard from a Gnawa jam in Essaouira medina

Gnawa (Gnaoua) is a traditional form of music popular in sub-saharan Africa particularly amongst the Berber people of Morocco. It is still performed today and the instruments are sold on stalls in the medina. It is believed to have originally been spread by black slaves within the region and was often performed as part of a ritual, commencing with an …

Postcard from the Ait Benhaddou kasbah, Morocco

There are few things which genuinely leave me with feelings of dread but a visit to the local shopping mall or a trip round the shops is one of these rare experiences. Shopping expeditions in Morocco to kasbahs or souks in places such as Ait Benhaddou are usually a totally different prospect than visiting the local mall. Browsing the stalls …

Postcard from an Egyptian sunset

Desert sunsets always seem especially spectacular. Sitting above a Bedouin camp in the Egyptian desert near Sharm el Sheik was proof enough of this for me. Watching from a high point above the camp provided moments of great peace and solitude before the festivities of the evening began. Lingering as long as I dared before joining the rest of the …

Postcard from a Marrakech street scene

Oranges are easy to find in Marrakech, in fact anywhere in Morocco. They grow in trees at the side of the streets, in train stations, parks and just about anywhere you look. The main square of Djemaa el Fna is flanked by stallholders selling freshly squeezed orange juice at an unbelievably cheap price. I always wondered where they collected their …