Gnawa music is a traditional North African folk music that combines ritual poetry with traditional music and dancing, it combines Berber, Arabic and Islamic rhythms from ancient African Islamic culture.
Omar is continuing this exploration with an experimental twist, bringing Gnawa traditions to new audiences as well as collaborating to create fusions that combine the Guembri with a range of other instruments and styles including bagpipes, guitar, fiddle and banjo.
THE WHITE WOOD KNOCK NEWS, FEB 16, P.40-43
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photo by Karen Gordon
In 2009 Omar was part of Gnawa UK, a London based group made up of Moroccan musicians, he has gone on to deliver workshops and performances at Drum Camp, Norfolk in 2010 and Findhorn Universal Hall, as well as African Drum Village, Kent, in 2013. Since 2010 Omar has given therapeutic workshop in partnership with Banff Day services for people with learning disabilities.
Between 2011 - 14 he worked with guitarist Goost Oud at Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival and composed the soundtrack for the short film The Time of Freedom. In 2012 he collaborated with Brazilian percussionist Allysson Velez on his project Ceilidhamba with Deveron Arts. This led to the CD NordEste/NorthEast.
In 2014 he performed at the Africa in Motion Film Festival and worked with The Ha Orchestra who performed at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and at KLM in the Square in Inverness in 2016.
Throughout 2016 Omar has been working on his residency at Deveron Arts which has combined his skills as a musician with his skills as a chef and craftsman. He worked collbaratively with Ben MacFadyen to create a musical accompaniment for the White Wood Story and also formed a band for the White Wood Gala. Find out more about his project here.