Maalem Omar HAYATZaouia Issaoua
Initiated into Gnaoua music by Mahmoud Gania, Maâlem Omar Hayat created his own group in 1991. He is part of a new generation of maâlems who carry on the tradition while focusing increasingly on performance art. Omar Hayat has defined his own style, incorporating diverse musical genres, particularly reggae. This singular artist has established a loyal audience at The Gnaoua and World Music Festival in Essaouira as well as other national and international Festivals. Omar Hayat is also a master of fusion, which he has demonstrated many times onstage in Essaouira. He transcended himself with La Halla Kingzoo in 2011 and the Mikkel Nordso Band in 2015. He took off in 2003 with guitarist Nguyên Lê, in 2008 with trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf, in 2009 with pianist Meddy Gerville.