GWMF 2015 - Khamsa

This year’s edition celebrated cultures of Maghreb and Morocco with world music, workshops and street parties with the support of the Government of Gibraltar, the Parasol Foundation, Tourism of Morocco, SG Hambros, Hassans, Hyperion, Deloitte, JYSKE Bank, Casablanca Beer, Ramparts, Royal Air Maroc and Sunborn Hotel.

16th June – 20.00 at Leisure Cinemas

The Festival begun the 16th June with the screening of the documentary ‘Tinghir-Jerusalem: echoes from the Mellah’ directed by the French-Moroccan director Kamal Hachkar. This film is the fruit of a personal quest which has led Kamal for now towards the remaining traces of Berber diasporas, both Jewish and Muslim. This journey into the heart of his identities has taken him from the Moroccan Atlas Mountains to Israel via France and the Mediterranean and enabled him to assert and ascertain his position within this culture.

‘Tinghir-Jerusalem: echoes from the Mellah’ will make the audience travel from one country to the other in search of the protagonist. Between individual and collective memories, from the oldest to the youngest, each one of them will allow the public little by little to pick up and follow the thread of the history. Not only that, the Moroccan filmmaker Kamal Hachkar will include the Rock in his next documentary, which will look into Moroccans abroad who have kept their heritage and will be a portrait of the third generation of Jewish and Muslim artists who continue to perpetuate their way of common heritage.

17th June – 19.00 at Commonwealth Park

The Gibraltar World Music Festival prepared an event at Commonwealth Park called ‘Le Souk’ that gave an opportunity to the population of Gibraltar and around to discover the sounds, smells and colours that Morocco can offer at its best. Loreto’s School choir together with Danza Academy of Gibraltar and the Centro de Arte Flamenco David Morales among other participated in this street party.

The musical program included several concerts:

– Since her childhood, Neta Elkayam has been surrounded by Moroccan-Jewish music, as a result, together with the members of her band- the younger generation, she has taken a leading role in all that pertains to the Moroccan music in Israel. The ultimate goal of the band is to combine their love of traditional Moroccan music, their loyalty to a young, contemporary identity and their commitment to taking the music forward to the next stage with compositions and texts that are relevant to today.

Each member of the band has his/her own musical language which they juxtapose with the musical traditions of their mentors. The songs written by them in Darija, a Moroccan dialect, are an attempt to produce authentic contemporary traditional songs in Moroccan Arabic based on traditional sources and aimed at the largest possible audiences. It is also an attempt to bring together Maghreb communities, Jews and Muslims, and open up the hearts of listeners whoever they may be.

The ‘Howa Jani’ project is inspired by archival recordings and old records of Jewish Maroccan musicians, and consists of their own arrangements of traditional Moroccan songs, as well as original compositions by Neta and her partner Amit. This is a project in which the ecstatic rhythms combine with nostalgic melodies of the Maghreb, and classic sound with contemporary musical sensibilities.

– Jazz Oil was created in July 2008 in Tunis by an unexpected duo: Bassist Slim Abida & Qanunist* Nidhal Jaoua, both using their instrument as solists. Later joined by a drum & brass section as well as keyboards, Duality still shapes the band Identity as for styles and territories involved: Jazz/ Groove & Oriental music heritage.

*Qanun is an oriental stringed instrument (78 chords) created at the end of the IXth century in Arabic Countries & Middle-East. It is traditionally used in Oriental Music. With an innovative technique & his compositions, Nidhal Jaoua widens the scope of the instrument and opens it to new horizons. 

Actually, there is no real territory nor boundary: what Jazz Oil proposed is use music as a LIANT for cultures & territories. Jazz Oil has played on numerous prestigious stages & festivals accross Tunisia, France & Spain: Jamel Comedy Club, Sunset/ Sunside, Le Chat Noir, Baisé Salé, Cité internationale des Arts, Festival de la Medina, Festival du Cinéma de la Paix, Espace culturel de Birlahjar, Día de Solidaridad con el Pueblo Tunecino…

– David Morales is a Flamenco dancer and choreographer, whose strength is linked to a natural talent. He is a master of all flamenco styles. He is touring with his last choreography: Lorca, Madly in Love, that embodies the figure of the Andalusian poet Garcia Lorca, with himself and the memories that will engage and partner the public in this heartbreaking story of love that gives notice, for the first time, of the last affair of the poet and that might be the reason why he did not flee to Spain despite the fact that he knew his life was in danger.

Now he is touring with his last choreography: Lorca, Madly in Love. It is a choreographic and a flamenco dialogue of David Morales, who embodies the figure of the Andalusian poet Garcia Lorca, with himself and the memories that will engage and partner the public in this heartbreaking story of love that gives notice,for the first time, of the last affair of the poet and that might be the reason why he did not flee to Spain despite he knew his life was in danger.

The entire burden of this secret kept for 75 years will be unveiled on the scene, including the remnants of a life that eludes his protagonist, full of lights, shadows and splendor and that sometimes seem like a pipe dream. So much so that at times your character will not know if he is no more than the shadow of that love as bright as definite that sentenced him to a lifetime of that silent and buried in his heart to blame.

Several tents with food, drinks, handcraft and workshops were available for the attendees at the boulevard located at Line Wall Road.

18th June – 09.00 at Garrison Library

The Gibraltar World Music Festival in conjunction with the University of Gibraltar organized a conference at Garrison Library untitled “Meeting Morocco”. The ambition was to propose to the people of Gibraltar an overview of Morocco’s values and its current dynamics.

This event welcomed two speakers, all from Morocco: Driss Alaoui Mdaghri and Asma Chaabi. The conference (and Q&A with a panel) was moderated by Michael Kirtley.

– Eclectic author, key-on, Driss Alaoui Mdaghri is the founder of « La Fondation des Cultures du Monde » and “Come To My Home” concept ( and of the Poetic and Musical Group of the same name. He multiplies experiments and modes of expression regardless of intellectual borders and territories. From professorship (Former Director of ISCAE, the main Business School in Morocco, and professor) to public office, company builder, active figure in the Moroccan civil society, columnist and author of several books including collections of poetry (“En Quête de Mots”, “Librement” and “Refugié Poetique”) he does not hesitate to be on stage in a play (“Les Amazones du Crabe ») and to act in a movie or to paint with the same enthusiasm at the risk sometimes of disturbing conventional minds.

This experience mixes genres and cultures and precisely matches the values that Driss Alaoui Mdaghri grows and tries to share in Morocco and elsewhere, values based on the search for peace, dialogue, tolerance and openness to others that underlie all what he undertakes.

Driss Alaoui Mdaghri exercised many functions at the governmental level for nearly a decade. He thus held the following portfolios: Minister of Communication and Spokesman of the Government (1995-1998), Minister of Youth and Sports (1994 -1995), Minister of Energy and Mines (1990-1994 ), Secretary of State for Foreign Affaires in charge of the Arab Maghreb Union (1989-1990).

– Asma Chaabi is the first and unique woman to be ever democratically elected mayor in the history of her country in 2003. Asma Chaabi, known for her strong motivation, ability to lead, willingness to help, and above all, her high determination to assist in the development of the Kingdom of Morocco.

Her natural leadership, high energy, ambition, corporate background and international education came to a perfect synergy in the service of the Mystical City of Essaouira.

Before running for office, Asma Chaabi was and still is the Executive Vice President of YNNA Holding, one of Morocco’s largest privately owned conglomerations. founded by her father, the self-made man Miloud Chaabi in 1948. 

Asma Chaabi serves on several Foundation Boards and non-governmental organizations who focus on women, childrens’ issues, and the underprivileged in particular.

Asma Chaabi keeps a busy international civic agenda and is a frequent international speaker invited to share her own experience in political reforms, family laws and Human Rights in Morocco.

In May 2008, Asma Chaabi was coopted by the International Women Forum(IWF)to found the Moroccan chapter and was elected its President in Hong-Kong’s Cornerstone Conference in 2009. Thus, she was appointed by IWF Global as the Special Advisor in the MENA Region to help to found new Chapters in 2010.

– Michael Kirtley is a Journalist, Photographer and an International Organizations Founder. On many occasions Michael has served as communications advisor to African leaders, most notably to the Moroccan government for almost a decade, to President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, and to the Benin presidency.

In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, Michael founded the very successful organization The Friendship Caravan to nurture understanding among people of diverse cultures. In recent years, he initiated many exchanges between Americans and the people of the Arab World.

18th June – 20.00 at St. Michael’s Cave

The climax of the Festival was the two main concerts that took place at St. Michael’s Cave. Following to the successful 2014 tour, Dhafer Youssef came to Gibraltar within his European tour, one of the most promising Jazz and World Music tour in Europe this year. His album “Birds Requiem” stayed 445 days in the top 100 of the Jazz Album on Amazon, his video’s concert in Izmir has reached 290.000 views on You Tube, he has 85.000 friends on Facebook who follows him actively. His unique voice, the alchemy of his cosmopolite influences and his charisma make every concert a unique and amazing experience.

Dhafer Youssef is a Tunisian Oud player, vocalist and composer born in November 19th, 1967 in Teboulba. Descendent of a modest family from this Center-eastern fishing village, he comes from a long line of muezzins. For him mastering vocal performances is a heritage.

Seduced by Jazz and other musical genres such as Indian music, he multiplied Jam sessions and encounters at different bars and clubs playing live music until he met Gerhard Reiter.It is along with this Austrian percussionist that he formed his first band “Zeryab”.In 1996, his multiple discoveries and experiences in Vienne gave birth to his first album “Musafer” (The Traveler, in Arabic). This album was the result of an atypical encounter with Anton Burger, Achim Tang, Jatinder Thakur and Otto Leichner. He presents his project to Porgy & Bess, a renowned Viennese club. After a successful first night at the club, he is offered a carte blanche and starts a series of monthly concerts. Over the concerts, Dhafer gains in maturity. The confirmation comes with the release in 1998 of “Malak” under the Label Enja Records.

A result of his interest for his vocal undulations and the resonances of sounds, the jazz music in “Electric Sufi” was an opportunity for Dhafer Youssef to experiment new things with his voice and to use it as an instrument. The musical alloy has strenghtned during a second inspiring tour. 

Prior to this concert, the Franco-Moroccan singer Françoise Atlan -in charge of the artistic direction of the Festival- ensured the creation of a specially appointed concert entitled ‘Convivencia’. This concert was a tribute of Gibraltar to the Festival des Andalousies Atlantiques based in Essaouira. Musicians of all religions performed in St. Michael’s Cave and brought the cultures on both sides of the strait. The band Jazz Oil, Abir El Abed, Neta Elkayam, David Morales and Françoise Atlan took part on this event.

Gibraltar World Music Festival 2015 - Khamsa