Summer in Massachusetts has been mild this year, too mild for my tastes! But on one Friday evening a few weeks ago, the Pine Leaf Boys hailing from Lafayette, Louisiana and Hassan Hakmoun, originally from Marrakech, heated up the night at the Lowell Folk Festival. They brought some of the smoking hot music of those very warm places to a crowd that was eager to dance and enjoy.
That said, if you’re looking for “authentic” music from either place, look elsewhere. These are not artists who are willing to be bound by tradition. The Pine Leaf Boys are a Cajun band that alternates playing songs from the Bayou infused with a youthful, fun-loving, rock and roll sensibility, and rock or blues infused with Cajun instrumentation, rhythms and melodies. Hassan Hakmoun resides in New York and for decides has been cross-polinating the Gnawa music her learned as a child with Jazz, Rock, Blues, and even other styles of music from the Middle East, such as the Andalusian tradition.
Both bands really got the audience involved in their sets, which should be apparent from the photos below. I hope you enjoy them.
A young dancer
Hassan Hakmoun in concert
A young man from the crown dances on stage
A young audience member brought onstage
Hassan Hakmoun’s Trio
Hassan Hakmoun addresses the crowd calling for peace