Held annually (mostly in June) in the city of Essaouria, a city in the western Moroccan economic region of Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz on the Atlantic coast, the Gnaoua World Music Festival is a celebration of Gnawa music. Also known as the “Moroccan Woodstock”, the event lasts for 4 days and attracts around 500000 spectators annually.
The festival is attended by foreign artists from all over the world and is an excellent platform for collaboration between the various music forms like rock, jazz, reggae, pop and contemporary world music with local gnawa music.
Gnawa music, often associated with acrobatic dancing, is a unique concoction of sub-Saharan African and Berber music with a blend of Sufi songs and rhymes. Though lasting for a long time, gnawa songs are basically a repetition of few verses again and again. As with most African music, the speech patterns related to the vocals and the melodious influence of the stringed instruments have a mesmerizing influence on the audience.
The instrumentation too is unique and characterizes the gnawa music. Most prominent among them are the heavy iron castanets (a.k.a krakebs or qraqab), and a 3-stringed lute called the hajhuj (a.k.a gimbri).
Festa Junina ( June Festival) is held annually in Brazil on the onset of winter which is an equivalent of the St. John festival which takes place during the European summer. The festivities which were introduced by the Portuguese colonial rule are particularly popular in north-eastern Brazil though also celebrated nationwide. During the festival the city makes a complete transformation in accordance with the rural theme of rain and harvest.
People adorn farmers’ costumes with large straw hats and enjoy the quintessential rural life swaying to the typical country music. Women usually wear red checkered dresses, pigtails, freckles, paint gap teeth and more on this day. Celebrations are mostly hosted under huge tents made of raw materials. During these 15 days of festivities, city takes on a colorful carnival type look and there are fireworks, bonfire to be seen all around.