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The Southern Drâa Valley, because of its liminal localization at the crossroads of ancient caravan routes and at the edge of the Sahara desert, has a unique cultural heritage, is influenced by Sub-Saharan, Arabic and Amazigh traditions. A key stop along the salt and gold caravan routes, M’hamid for centuries has seen bands of nomads from Senegal, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Algeria, and further east from the Arab world not only pass through on their way to Marrakesh to bring gold from Timbuktu and goods from other areas, but settle within the oasis of the Drâa River as it provided opportunity to build a livelihood around the plentiful date palm trees.
The traditional songs of the Drâa Valley are a result of the harmony between civilization and nature that characterize culture of the oasis, in which the harshness of the surrounding landscape and climate is counterbalanced by a collective management of natural resources, the efficient cultivation of arable land, and caravan trade. For several centuries, the Drâa Valley has played a central role in Moroccan cultural life, since it was the crossroad of Islamic civilizations coming from the Arab world, western civilizations coming from the Nord, and African civilizations coming from the South.
The songs of the Draa Valley have been played inside Ksour, which are small settlements, composed of rammed earth buildings, entrance plaza, fortification gate(s), turets and courtyard homes. Songs are played in public areas: plazas, gardent etc…while others are played in the streets as processions, inside private homes. At last others are played asmid sand dunes.
Project partners include Joudour Sahara, Conseil Provincial Zagora, Aziza Chaouni Projects, Playing For Change Foundation, The International Society for Music Education, Komcept, with additional support from Playing For Change partner Audio-Technica USA.