Mehdi Qamoum

Gnawa Brotherhood trance ritual – Sufi Festival

This concert has already taken place! 25
This concert has already taken place! 25
Mehdi Qamoum
Mehdi Qamoum © Fatima Habouz

Losing oneself and drinking tea

The world of trance is a realm beyond the visible, material and comprehensible world. It is a realm that everyone longs to reach who strives to break through boundaries, to free themselves from the prison of the mind and cross a threshold to the sphere of the unspeakable. Some people refer to it as God. This state can be achieved by the intake of psychoactive substances, but dancing, prayer and meditation are pleasanter ways to get there, and don’t involve the loss of control.

If you want to find yourself, you need to get lost in this wonderful labyrinth of sounds. There is no need to participate from the beginning, and you needn’t stay until the end. But in all likelihood, you will want to. At this ceremony, long periods of music are interrupted by intervals for drinking tea.

Closely related to trance is the state of ecstasy, losing control as a sacred experience. Repetition is an important prequisite for trance and ecstasy, and they both require plenty of time. That is why the Lila ritual, which the Moroccan singer, gimbri player and bass player Mehdi Qamoum is putting on together with his Maghreb brotherhood in the Recital Hall, lasts for four hours (and probably considerably longer back home).

Gnawa is marked by the constant sound of little cymbals being struck together, accompanied by rhythmic clapping and the earthy sound of the lute-like gimbri, which has been in use for centuries. This ritual music evolves a lurching intensity which is hard to elude. By getting lost in the music, the listener finds himself.


Mehdi Qamoum vocals, gimbri, tbel

Hicham Bilali vocals, krakebs, gimbri, tbel

Achraf Abantor vocals, krakebs, tbel

Ismail Hassoui vocals, krakebs

Ayoub Boufous vocals, krakebs


Mehrstündiges Trance-Ritual der Gnawa-Bruderschaft aus dem Maghreb

Dreiteiliges Konzert mit zwei Pausen

Estimated end time



Sufi Festival

Promoter: HamburgMusik

Supported by the Stiftung Elbphilharmonie

From the Mediatheque : Videos, Podcasts, Articles

Play Video

: Elbphilharmonie Explains: Sufism

The Berlin expert Sinem Kılıç on this fascinating branch of Islam, its history and traditions.

5 questions for Mehdi Qamoum

The Moroccan musician talks about trance rituals and the spiritual importance of music.

The spiritual power of music

The artists of the Sufi Festival talk about the special connection between music and spirituality.

Mysticism for everyone

Sufism involves more than just taking refuge in a trance. Rather, it connects the Creator with Creation – among other things, with the help of music.

During your visit

Elbphilharmonie Plaza

A public viewing platform on the 8th floor of the Elbphilharmonie

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Food and Drink

Before the concert and in the interval

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