Aug 1, 2007

Essaouira Morocco -- Gnaoua World Music Festival

Sometimes the best photo opportunities catch you by surprise. But you need to be prepared for the unexpected or it’s a gift squandered.

While in Morocco last June I spent part of the time in Essaouira. Located on the Atlantic Coast, Essaouira is a beautiful laid back ancient port city. It was part of the hippie trail in the 1960s and 1970s and is popular with tourists. Its signature colors are white and cobalt blue painted on the buildings in the medina, or old walled city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

My trip coincided with the Gnaoua World Music Festival. The festival doesn’t start for a few more hours and I decide to head out of the old city to photograph the beach. It’s late in the day and shadows have descended on the narrow lanes of the Medina. I turn a corner and there is a mini parade, Mardi Gras style, of musicians and giant puppets. I’m already in the middle of the lane and the procession, surrounded by hundreds of spectators being pushed to the side by police, is rapidly coming straight towards me. I have about 20 seconds to make the most of it.

The photograph of the musician above was the last one taken before I jumped into a doorway where a shopkeeper subsequently offers refuge so I don’t get crushed by the crowd.


DaftNotStupid said...

Hi Wendy - from your list of detinations, you certainly travel a lot. I hope you enjoy it, since when I travel for business, I find it gets a bit tedious after a while. Maybe travelling as a photo-journalist is different than being in software marketing.

Still, I digress. I read your post about the Essaouira festival and noticed that you didn't mention the music. If you like gnaoua and world music, take a look at my blog for July where you'll be able to listen to some of the music I recorded there this year.

Wendy said...

Thanks for the link. I'll listen up later tonight. It was a happy accident for me to be in Essaouira during the festival. I'll be posting on Essaouira in general in the next day or 2.