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Wijdan: Mystery of Gnawa Trance Music
Wijdan Mystery of Gnawa Trance Music
Actors: Brahim el Belkani, Sibiri Samake
Director: John Allen
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
G     2008     0hr 52min

The Gnawa people have been shrouded in mystery since they were exiled from the Malian empire and brought as slaves to Morocco in the 16th century. In the last two decades, the power of their trance music has come into the...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Brahim el Belkani, Sibiri Samake
Director: John Allen
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Sub-Genres: Pop, International
Studio: Possible Pictures
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 05/13/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 0hr 52min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
Edition: Import
MPAA Rating: G (General Audience)
Languages: French, English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Something made me buy this DVD!
Louis Alemayehu | Minneapolis/Saint Paul, MN USA | 12/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In the anxiety of these economic times, something made me pull the money out of my pocket and buy this DVD. I had to sit down with it 4 times before I could watch it carefully scene by scene and watch from beginning to end. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT FILM. One must not try to understand too quickly. It's like listening to John Coltrane's A Love Supreme for the first time. It takes attention and openness and there are differences. A Love Supreme is a musical suite and this is documentary with many elements of a different kind and as I write I know words are getting in the way of communicating the depth of this viewing experience and its content.

We live in a time where it is important to build bridges if we are to escape utter brutal chaos. We live in a time where it is vital for each to understand their cultural roots and our profound connections to the EARTH and all her vital systems. As musician Albert Ayler once articulated: "Music is the Healing Force of the Universe". If you see this DVD please pay attention to the fact that men are doing must of the talking, but if women were not actively present, these rituals would NOT be happening at all. There is a lot here and not enough space or time for one person to reflect it all. The insights I got from watching this, I can apply within the multikulti community that I live within and want to build in North Star State of Minnesota USA! Watch. Listen. Reflect. Act! I am glad I bought Wijdan. I think I will continue to learn from this DVD for years yet unfolding."
The power of music, trance and transmission
john allen | Paris France | 05/21/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"As a tribe all but unknown in the west, the Gnawa people endured a sad history which witnessed them being forcibly dragged away from their original home - in Mali - and carted against their will to a sad new life as Moroccan slaves. Over the course of time, the Gnawas developed a most unusual form of music known as "trance" music, which several western acts, in turn (including jazz saxophonist Archie Shepp and arena rockers Led Zeppelin) fluidly incorporated into their compositions and performances. The acts felt fascinated by the music's status as a grass-roots source of the blues and its ability to forge a "mystical" connection between the players and listeners. The documentary Wijdan: The Mystery of Gnawa Trance Music demonstrates just such a connection as it develops between two otherwise unacquainted musicians and mysteriously pulls them together: Moroccan gnawi musician Brahim and Malian bambarra performer Sibiri. The film also witnesses an extraordinary series of events whereby the performers "transfer" hidden knowledge to their young. ~ Nathan Southern, All Movie Guide"