Soul of the blue lanes [Portrait]

The soulful gnaoua music played by Abdellatif Elwassif continues to draw smiles on the faces of visitors of the Oudayas, despite the difficulties he experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As you walk through the mesmerising blue lanes of the Oudayas, an enchanting echo of the  »guembri » beats leads you without realising to a young man, dressed in blue to match the walls that inspire his spirit, singing the music of old cultural tales that can carry your soul to a different dimension. Usually surrounded by tourists from all paths of life enjoying the musical trip with closed eyes and dreamy smiles, as he sits behind his hand-made hat filled with coins.

Abdellatif has been expressing himself through gnaoua music since he was 9 years old, a passion passed down to him through generational practice. Son of the Iconic gnaoui of the Oudayas, he takes a boat everyday from Salé to entertain tourists who appreciate his rich spiritual music, keeping the legacy of his father alive as the latter fights illness.

 » The lockdown period has been very difficult on my family, financially and mentally. We survived on making and selling hand-made traditional gnaoua hats » said Abdellatif when asked about the difficulties he faced during the pandemic. Still determined to lead a successful artistic career, he hopes life will get back to its normal course as soon as possible for him to participate in local festivals and build a reputation that can push him ahead into taking part in international spiritual music festivals.

Basma Benabdallah

Basma Benabdallah is a dynamic and passionate aspiring journalist who strives to make a positive change via her writing and to be the voice of everyone who deserves to be heard. Although she is proficient and experienced in a range of genres, her primary sources of inspiration are Culture and Society. She also enjoys photo-reporting, which she did for the first time in her professional life when she worked as a photo-reporter in India for the cause of gender equality.