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Experience Morocco: Essaouira Gnawa Music and Dance Performances

On this evening tour in Essaouira, step inside the world of the 'gnawa,' an Afro-Moroccan group whose music, culture and traditions are the heartbeat of Morocco. Meet gnawa masters, jam with local musicians, and watch dance performances to experience this addictive music genre first-hand, in places that many Essaouira visitors don’t know about. In true local style, finish at a popular music spot in town to socialize some more. Numbers are limited to 8 on this small-group tour, ensuring a more personalized cultural experience.

per adult from




3 hours


Mobile ticket

Select Date and Travellers

No tour options available.

  • What's included :
    • Local guide
    • Gnawa performances/ demonstration
    • Tea
    What's excluded :
    • Gratuities
    • Food and drinks
    • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Meet under Essaouira’s clock tower in the evening for your 3-hour gnawa music tour, a unique experience that takes you back in time to discover Morocco's music culture, history and traditions.

    Walk through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Medina of Essaouira, the walled Arab quarter, and learn about the gnawa people and their customs from your guide. Originating from North and West Africa, gnawas are known for their ancient African-Islamic music, whose songs are marked by low-toned rhythms, chants, hand-clapping and cymbals. Performances range from upbeat social gatherings to religious rituals.

    Your first stop is a zaouia, or sacred temple of the gnawa people. Traditional lila rituals take place here to drive out evil spirits and treat psychological ills, and often last for hours at a time. Next, meet a gnawa dancer (or kuyu) and head inside their home for a gnawa dance demonstration. Watch typical dance moves accompanied by an explanation of the dancer’s traditional clothing. Often made at home, these intricate designs include bold colors, embroidery and shells.

    Then, it’s off to meet a gnawa maalem, or master, who acts as the leader of any gnawa troupe. Visit the maalem's private quarters to see how the traditional guembri instrument is made and hear some songs played. Share in their vast traditional knowledge and experience something usually reserved for gnawi, musicians and their friends and family.

    Come full circle from gnawa’s past to present by finishing the evening in true local style: enjoying live music with a drink in hand (own expense). Stay at this local music venue as long as you like, and feel free to ask your guide about other places to continue enjoying gnawa music. Recently, the style has been fused with Western and Latin music, making it perfect music for dancing, if you're in the mood!
  • Departure Point :
    Traveler pickup is offered
    Inside Bab Sbaa, below the clock tower (L’Moganna). Find the exact meeting point with what3words: ///local.lyrics.coherent.
    Departure Time :
    5:30 PM
    Return Detail :
    Hotel Pickup :
    • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
    • Not wheelchair accessible
    • A conservative dress code is recommended as the tour visits sacred and private sites. Men and women should keep their upper body (especially shoulders, chest and midriff) and knees covered at all times as a sign of respect to the local culture. Wearing shorts is not recommended. Evenings can be cool so please dress appropriately.
    • This is a child-friendly tour, but is not stroller-friendly. Children between the ages of 6 and 11 inclusively are permitted on this tour at the rate listed above. Please select ‘child’ above when booking. Children under the age of 6 are permitted to join this tour free of charge. Please inform us at the time of booking if you’ll be bringing a child under the age of 6. You can do so in the special request box on the checkout page. Please note that this tour may include narrow stairs and tight spaces, and is therefore not suitable for strollers.
    • For your Urban Adventure you will be in a small group of a maximum of 12 people
    • Most travelers can participate
    • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 12 travelers
    • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
    • Guides required to regularly wash hands
    • Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
    • All tours follow the latest local health authority advice, including mask usage and social distancing. Urban Adventures has received the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Safe Travels stamp, which recognises companies that have adopted health and hygiene global standardised protocols.
  • You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.
  • If you cancel at least 4 day(s) in advance of the scheduled departure, there is no cancellation fee.
    If you cancel within 3 day(s) of the scheduled departure, there is a 100 percent cancellation fee.



Age Req.


Fitness Req.


Group Size


Organised by Urban Adventures - Morocco

Activity ID: V-6057GNAWAMUSIC

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