Asma HAMZAOUIScène Moulay Hassan
Barely 20 years old, she became the leader of the Bnat Tombouctou (Daughters of Timbuktu) group, and one of the youngest and very rare female ambassadors of Gnaoua culture. She inherited her passion from her father, the renowned Maâlem Rachid Hamzaoui. From her earliest age, she learned to play the guembri and accompanied her father at celebrations. Since 2012 she has led and performed with her own group. Bnat Timbuktu has remained faithful to tradition stylistically, but have introduced their own choice of subjects: separation, suffering, and the memory of Africa are dominant themes. They gradually won over ever-larger audiences, until they were selected to join the line-up of the famous Gnaoua and World Music Festival of Essaouira in the summer of 2017. A significant event in that female guembri players are few and far between, in Morocco and around the world. Traditionally these women do not play during ceremonies, and only touch the instrument in private surroundings (this is often the case, for example, for a woman married to maâlem) - taking the stage in public is still considered taboo. Asmâa Hamzaoui is the exception.