Rwayss is a music genre that exists in the south of Morocco – but unfortunately it is gradually vanishing because still fewer rwayss musicians help keep the art form alive.
Rwayss is an urban type of music that grew out of the southern cities of Morroco, Tiznit and Marrakech, in the 18th century. It is rooted in the history of the Amazigh of the Souss. Historically, the rwayss musicians were troubadours, and they travelled with their music, singing of news and various kinds of proverbs.
It is a type of music with its own language, its own notes, styles, techniques and methods of playing.
The instrumental characteristics of the style is string instruments like the ribab (a one-stringed violin) and the outar (a kind of lute) and percussion instruments like a metallic instrument called naqqus and the bendir.
It’s important to preserve the musical heritage. That has been a task at hand for Brahim El Mazned, director and founder of Visa for Music in Rabat among other festivals. And a lover of music. He has set out to record and preserve the expressions of the rwayss music. A compilation is on the way. Roskilde Festival has given a donation to the project so that the musicians could get paid for their contributions.
Now, the project travels to Roskilde Festival for a special performance. Four masters of Amazigh (Berber) music, two women and two men, will play a set of rwayss music.