Morocco's Gnaoua music festival kicks off in Essaouira

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Moroccan Gnaoua artist Maalem Hamid El Kasri, along with Fusion-influenced jam band Snarky Puppy, opened the festival, offering the public a mixture of musical styles blending Gnaoua with jazz, rock and funk.

"The festival is loyal to its core aim of making Gnaoua art an essential symbol of Moroccan and African culture, and will make Essaouira an internationally-known city of culture," Tazi stressed.

The event also provides a platform for cultural exchanges and a meeting place for foreign artists and the Gnaoua musicians, she added.

"These young talents carry the torch of their predecessors to save this major art in our country, whose fame and influence have become international," said Neila Tazi, the festival organizer.

This year's festival highlights young Gnaoua talents, including groups from Casablanca, Marrakech and Essaouira.

RABAT, June 21 (Xinhua) -- The 21th edition of the Gnaoua World Music Festival kicked off on Thursday in the Atlantic resort town of Essaouira.

The three-day festival will celebrate the traditional Gnaoua music, which originates from sub-Saharan Africa and has evolved to include a mixture of Moroccan, African and African Islamic spiritual rhythms and combines ritual poetry with traditional music and acrobatic dancing.