Hip Hop + Electro x Morocco = Mixatac #2
What happens when you add the tensely political hip hop of Marrakesh, brooding French indie electro and lace it together with the folk music of Morocco's mystic gnawa scene? Actually, I had no idea until I ran across an excellent follow up to 2009's Mixatac #1: Bamako out on Orane Records, which did a similar project with Mandingo musicians in Bamako, Mali. Much like that release, it gives a fresh take on a music scene that's as posed for a post-traditional future as any.
The new music featured at 10AM-ish today was from Mixatac #2: Essouira, a collaboration between three distinctly different groups that was born out of an impromptu meeting at the famous Gnawa Festival d'Essouira held annually in Essouira on the Atlatic Coast of Morocco. Marseilles' electro rock group Nasser joined forces with Gnawa Master Maalem Hassan and his trio and are fronted very ably by Marrakesh rapper OMY.
What appears to be less than intentional has led to a very intriguing EP by three very different crews. One that is as obsessed with tradition as intrinsically innovative. Definitely worth a listen if you tend towards the exotic...