Mehdi Qamoum is a versatile composer and multi-instrumentalist based in Agadir. A traditional gnawa musician, Mehdi has mastered numerous folk instruments including guembri, outar, karbaou, bendir and a custom guembri four-string electric bass which he built himself. Aside from his own compositions, Mehdi is well known for his work as a sideman and band leader, and has performed in the the house band for the Morocco Pavilion at Epcot Center. In addition to his formidable instrumental talents, Mehdi is also an adept songwriter and his original songs often confront pressing social issues like poverty, diaspora and discrimination.
Mehdi Qamoum received a OneBeat Accelerator grant for his project ‘Barakat J’doud Lila Celebration at Jazzawiya‘; a virtual traditional Gnawa celebration that will help to keep open the doors of the Jazzawiya Center, Agadir’s only community cultural center, which has played a critical role in shaping the lives of young people of Agadir for over 36 years by immersing them in music, art and cultural activities.
Jazzawiya is a unique nonprofit organization located in the underserved neighborhood of L’batoir. Since opening, it has had significant impact in the community, particularly among youth. Jazzawiya engages young kids who need the most attention, and puts in place programs that help them develop positive outcomes and achieve greater futures by providing creative spaces, workshops, and community shows. Jazzawiya was negatively impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic, keeping its doors closed to the public and its limiting its activity in the community. This event will seeks to raise funds for Jazzawiya in order to help restore its full capacity.
The event will be recorded and broadcasted during a facebook live session on Jazzawiya’s page. This recording will also serve as a historical documentation of Gnawa Lila as part of an effort to maintain Moroccan and African cultural heritage and patrimony for future educational and anthropological research purposes.