Saturday, October 27, 2012

More on Paco (RIP) and Nass El Ghiwane

Please read this great obituary on Paco (Abderrahmane Kirouche), the gnawi from Essaouira, and member (from 1974-1993) of one of Morocco's best and most beloved bands, Nass El Ghiwane. The obit, from The Audiotopia, is full of info about both Paco and Nass El Ghiwane. The piece confirms that Paco had an affiliation with The Living Theater. According to The Audotopia, Paco met up with them in summer 1966 while traveling in England. Maybe the group's encounter with Paco is what brought them to Essaouira, where they spent part of the summer of 1969 (July) in Essaouira. Who knows? I've read about The Living Theater's time in Essaouira in John Tytell's The Living Theatre: Art, Exile, and Outrage (New York: Grove Press, 1995). Tytell tells us that a group of Gnawa slept on the roof of the company’s group house and that they performed a purification ceremony and taught company members how to trance and stick knives into their bodies without drawing blood. Tytell does, however, specifically name Pacca. During their stay in Essaouira, the Living Theater were also visited by psychiatrist R.D. Laing, Stokely Carmichael, Anaïs Nin and Jimi Hendrix. The Audotopia claims that Paco jammed with Hendrix. I met other gnawa in Essaouira when I was there in 1999 who claimed the same thing. Caesar Glebbeek claims that this didn't happen, that Hendrix didn't even bring his guitar with him to Essaouira. Who knows, maybe someone handed him a guitar. The legend lives large in Essaouira.

Paco married a woman named Christine who was affiliated with The Living Theater, according to The Audiotopia, and the post comes with a picture of Christine. But he eventually divorced her. I'd like to track down more info on this.

Check out as well this blog devoted to the poetry of Nass El Ghiwane (in Arabic). Be sure to download the rare Nass El Ghiwane sides that The Audiotopia has posted with the obit. Finally, Tim over at Moroccan Tape Stash has recently posted some more recorded material from Paco. Allah yarhamu.

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