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 …

Portraits of Culture – Peoples of Destination

Travelling is about enjoying experiences, either visiting a well known or little visited destination, savouring the journey, relaxing, finding adventure, visiting family, attending a festival or event these are just a few of the multitude of reasons for travelling. An often quoted reason by travellers is to experience a different culture, to immerse themselves in an alien community. “The wider …

Berber Desert Odyssey – Camels and Starlight

In search of just deserts The word desert is an evocative one and conjures up visions of endless sand dunes, a barren landscape interrupted only by lush but rare oasis and scenes from films with men driven mad with thirst searching for water. The desert environment is an unfamiliar one for most of us and for this reason alone attracts …