Mahmoud Guinia

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Mahmoud Guinia
Born 1951
Essaouira, Morocco
Origin Morocco
Died 2 August 2015(2015-08-02) (aged 64)
Genres Gnawa
Instruments Guembri, Krakebs, Ganga

Mahmoud Guinia (Arabic: محمود ﯕينيا‎‎, and rarely ﯕنيا or کانية[pronunciation?]; also spelled Gania, Guinea or Khania; 1951 – 2 August 2015) was a Moroccan Gnawa musician, singer and guembri player, who was traditionally regarded as a Maâllem (معلم محمود ﯕينيا), i.e. master.

He recorded for both domestic and foreign labels, and collaborated with numerous western musicians.[1]


Guinia was born in 1951 in the city Essaouira on the Atlantic coast.[2] He is the second son of the master of Gnawa music, Maâllem Boubker Guinia (1927–2000) and the famous clairvoyant and "moqaddema" A'isha Qabral. His brothers Mokhtar Guinia and Abdellah Guinia are gnawa Maâllems too,[3] and their sister Zaida is another moqqaddema.[4] Mahmoud Guinia is married to a woman from Marrakech, with whom he has two sons and a daughter.[citation needed]

His family of both the father's[1] and mother's[3] sides came from present day Mali. They were employed as soldiers in the sultan's army.[citation needed] They are regarded as the main representatives for the style of Essaouira, the Saouiri style.

Guinia died after a lengthy illness on 2 August 2015.[2]

His sons continue the tradition both being Maâllem of the Saouiri style, notably Maallem Houssam Guinia.


Mahmoud Guinia has put out numerous recordings, which have not been documented very well. In the 1970s or so Moroccan music label Fikriphone released records of both live Lila ceremonies and studio sessions. In the next decades it was followed by Tichkaphone, whose materials were distributed in France by Sonodisc, and Agadir's La Voix El Maarif.[citation needed]

The most famous western release was recorded by Bill Laswell in 1994 and featured the American saxophone player Pharoah Sanders. Another, with Peter Brötzmann and Hamid Drake, was recorded at Wels's 1996 Music Unlimited festival. The Shaman of the Sahara music recordings were released in 2001 with Maâllem Mahmoud Guinia in collaboration with Tata Guines, Victor Vidal Paz and various Indonesian musicians.

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Essaouira Gnaoua Festival - Maalem Mahmoud Guinea". Retrieved 2013-01-22. 
  2. ^ a b Igrouane, Youssef (3 August 2015). "Godfather of Gnawa, Mahmoud Guinia, dies at 64". Morocco World News. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Gnawa Essaouira". Retrieved 2013-01-23. 
  4. ^ Christoffersen, Lars (2006-08-21). "En af trancens store mestre besøger Danmark". Retrieved 2013-01-23.