The story of a song that was born in Morocco
On Morocco’s coast there is a fairy-tale town that sits strongly on the rocks fighting the endless ocean waves coming to attack it from far away. I ended up here with my accordion in the winter of 2014, in an attempt to get away from that winter. When I got out of the bus from Morocco’s capital Marrakech, I was immediately absorbed by one of the mouth-like gates in the high city wall. These walls were once built by the French, to establish a trade-centre here, to export and protect all of Morocco’s richnesses. Now the insides of the town have been restyled the Moroccan way, with an endless medina (market) with it’s small twisting streets sure to make you loose your way.
My accordion is my shield
A backpack on your back makes you an easy target for locals with ‘uncles‘ that have ‘the best hotel‘ that is still ‘very cheap‘.”My friend, come” is a phrase a traveller quickly learns to friendly ignore if he doesn’t want to end up with a lot less money in his pocket. But I’m lucky. I have my own secret weapon against fake-friendship. I have a shield. This shield is sitting on my belly and was made in the 1960’s in a small town in Italy. It is my travelling accordion!
With it’s blue color, buttons & keys, it attracts lots of people. Before I knew it I found new friends, musicians themselves, playing the traditional Gnawa music with them, chilling and playing in Zawya music studio, watching the waves crash the rock under magnificent sunsets, eating Tajine with our hands.
In the sixties, maybe the same year my accordion was made, Jimmy Hendrix visited Essaouira, a visit that is celebrated every day still with the sales of everything you could imagine having Jimmy Hendrix’s name printed on it. It’s easy to believe he got inspired here. Easy, because I got inspired here myself.
Watching the waves
One day I was sitting on the rocks watching a fisherman dance his dance with the big crashing ocean waves. Every time the water retreated for 10 seconds he rushed dangerously down the rocks to cut off a few exposed shell’s. While I was watching him a started humming a tune I wrote a few years before, but that I never really managed to fold into a song. But now it was easy. The words flowed out of me by just describing what I was seeing, what I was doing here in Essaouira. This was the moment the song ‘Essaouira’ was born. It was an easy birth.
Listen to the song Essaouira in Spotify here: