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The guembri is a plucked three-stringed bass lute made from log and camel skin. Marked by low-toned, highly rhythmic melodies, it is central to Gnawa music, a body of spiritual and hypnotic music from Morocco and parts of sub-Saharan Africa. For this sample collection, Found Sound Nation teamed up with prodigious guembri player Mehdi Nassouli to produce an ecstatic and mesmerizing set of melodies and rhythms performed on guembri, karkabas (a set of hand-held metallic castanets), lira (a traditional bamboo flute), awicha (a smaller version of the guembri), and taarija (a Moroccan hand-held drum similar to Darbuka).

Mehdi Nassouli grew up immersed in Morocco’s Gnawa culture. He learned to play a wide range of instruments at an early age, becoming especially passionate about the guembri. Inspired and surrounded by the sounds of Moroccan musical heritage, Mehdi devoted himself to studying deqqa, a traditional form of art from Taroudant and spent the better part of a decade learning several traditional musical styles across Morocco. Open to the fusion of musical genres, he has since crossed continents, collaborating and performing with many prominent international artists, notably Herbie Hancock, Fatoumata Diawara, Titi Robin, Benjamin Taubkin, and Alpha Blondy, merging traditional African, Amazigh and Gnawa music with sounds of the wider world.

Produced by Found Sound Nation

Edited and mixed by Chris Botta & Enayet Kabir

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