THIS SHOW IS SOLD OUT!
The lila is a healing ritual of song, music, dance, costume, and incense performed by the Gnawa people of Morocco. It takes place over the course of an entire night and this is why it is called lila (layla), which means night in Arabic. Invocations to God, the Prophet Muhammad and saints, including Syed Bilal, are invoked in order to purify the atmosphere and intentions for the ritual. The repetitive rhythm of the sintir and castanets produces a deep meditative trance state (jadba), moving some to dance. The Maalem (master) uses specific sounds and colors to guide participants through a healing journey, especially when an illness concerns an imbalance with a master protector spirit (melk).
The Gnawa lila is similar to the hadra ceremonies of other Moroccan Aissawa, Hamadsha and Jilala Sufis, however with some key differences. Since the Gnawa’s ancestors were neither literate nor speakers of Arabic, they do not begin with awrad or prayer texts, but instead they remember, through song and dance, the Gnawa of times past, their lands of origin and the experiences of their slave ancestors from various areas in Africa. Their songs tell a tale of separation, loneliness and ultimate redemption.