Essaouira, Morrocco is on the traditional music lovers map because of its Gnaoua tradition and festival. This beautiful old city and its walled souk is on the Northern Atlantic coast, but thankfully insanely powerful winds basically turn the beach into a daily sandstorm – keeping the tourist hordes away.
It still is a destination though, for Gnaoua lovers and for Jimi Hendrix fans (he visited in 1969), giving the town a weird hippy meets Berber vibe.
I really dug the Gnaoua music (who doesn’t), but I preferred a much simpler pleasure: Checking out the roaming bands of Berber street musicians in the old walled city.
Picking 6 string banjos and rebab fiddles, these guys were a real highlight for me (and my young kids, who make a guest appearance below). Berbers are considered the first inhabitants of Morocco and are very proud of their culture - and music.
These guys get mega points for a real inventive use of a tip jar!