In 2006, after his return from India, Johann had the opportunity to spend 3 months in Morocco to participate in a musical project, and took advantage of the trip to develop his understanding of the rhythms of the Maghreb and Gnawa music.
It was during this voyage in the desert of Merzouga that he met Mahjoubi, a member of the ethnie Bambara,, who accepted to initiate him into the gumbri.
One night, Johann had the chance to assist in a ceremonial nocturne of Bambaras in their village in the middle of the desert. They all gathered around an enormous fire. The men were lined up together, playing karkabous and singing, while the women responded by dancing and clapping their hands.
That night after the ceremony, Johann and Mahjoubi went to play gumbri in the desert… “to make the spirits dance” as Mahjoubi was saying.
The next day, after this amazing quasi-mystical experience, they returned to Mahjoubi village for another day of sharing and exchange. To learn the gumbri and the traditional music nothing is necessary other than opening ones ears, listening attentively, observing, opening the spirit, closing the eyes, feeling the music and the rhythm, and finally to reproduce and repeat. This was the advice of the Mahjoubi…
Johann was very touched by the people of the village of Mahjoubi and by the beauty and magic of the desert of Merzouga.
Johann at the Mahjoubi village.
At the village with bambaras.