Gnaws is a uniquely Moroccan sound with roots in Islam and links to a healing ritual called Lila (Arabic for “night”). From this heritage comes Innov Gnawa, the only New York-based Gnawa group made from Moroccon natives, untied by the Mâalem (“Master”) Hassan Ben Jaâfer.
In 2016, Pique-Nique Recordings presented their debut EP together and, since then, the band have also featured on ‘Bambro Koyo Ganda’ from Bonobo’s latest album. Aicha EP is their follow-up and ‘Youbati’ gets a first play here. Amino Belyamani of the band tells us the track is a homage, “dedicated to all the great Maalems that have left us.” Alongside the joyous call and response between the Maalem and the group that’s common in Gnawa, there are also hints of electronic programming interspersed between the traditional live instrumentation; no doubt an influence of Nicolas Jaar collaborator Dave Harrington who produced the EP.
Aicha EP it out 7th March. Artwork by Sophie Bass.