Hamid El Kasri is a master musician who plays the guembri - a distinctive instrument, best described as a three-stringed bass lute. It's found mostly in Gnawa music, the North African music of former black slaves. Gnawa music mixes classical Islamic Sufism with pre-Islamic African traditions and is used in healing rituals. It is deeply hypnotic!
Maalem Hamid El Kasri is the champion of Gnawa culture, praised for rejuvenating the genre while maintaining its authenticity.
His charisma, powerful voice and mastery of the guembri instrument are his trademark. He's recognised and respected by all his fellow contemporary musicians. To quote Rhythm Passport - "He is to the guembri what Jimmy Page is to the guitar".
While Hamid is a Maalem, a master-musician charged with protecting a particular style, he has also participated in a number of high profile trans-global collaborations that have enriched his world-wide reputation.
Hamid El Kasri is a musician at the peak of his powers.
Maalem Hamid El Kasri performing on the TSB Bowl Stage in New Plymouth was recorded and produced by Graham Kennedy for RNZ Music.