Asmâa Hamzaoui and Bnat Timbouktou (the daughters of Timbuktu) represent a new generation of young women Gnawa performers, breaking new ground in a traditionally patriarchal realm. Asmâa Hamzaoui assimilated the Gnawa musical tradition from a young age through her father, renowned musician Rachid Hamzaoui, learning to play the guembri (three-string lute) from an early age and later accompanying him at celebrations. She formed Bnat Timbuktu in 2012, gradually winning over audiences, until their breakthrough invitation to the Gnaoua Festival of Essaouira in 2017. Their taboo-busting performance, and jamming with Fatoumata Diawara, won them invitations to major festivals in Europe and the USA, even without a recording to their name. Asmâa still comes up against opposition from some Gnawa traditionalists but as she says: “They can talk, but here I am working and they’re just talking.”
Very special guests for this is contemporary Irish folk super-group Skipper's Alley featuring John Francis Flynn (Voice, Flute, Whistle, Guitar), Patrick Cummins (Banjo, Voice, Whistle), Ultan O'Brien (Fiddle) & Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin (Concertina, Vocals, Flute, Whistle). With a sound described as “from unaccompanied song through to full Chieftains frenzy” (Folk World), the Dublin-based group arrange and interpret traditional Irish folk music on Uilleann Pipes, Harp, Fiddle, Whistles, Bodhrán, Banjo and more, taking influence from such early bands as Planxty, The Bothy Band and The Chieftains.