The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 Friday, September 25, 2020

Moroccan village riffs on Hendrix legends and myths
A picture taken in the Moroccan coastal city of Essaouira shows portraits of late US guitarist Jimi Hendrix on September 10, 2020. Some claim to have seen him, others to have spoken with him -- 50 years after guitar legend Jimi Hendrix's untimely death, a village on Morocco's Atlantic coast pulsates with his memory. In the Summer of 1969, Hendrix, the pioneering US guitar wizard whose whose hits included "Purple Haze" and "Hey Joe", made a brief stop in Essaouira, a former fort town and latter day tourist magnet located five kilometres (three miles) from his childhood village. FADEL SENNA / AFP.

by Hamza Mekouar

ESSAOUIRA (AFP).- Some claim to have seen him, others to have spoken with him -- 50 years after guitar legend Jimi Hendrix's untimely death, a village on Morocco's Atlantic coast pulsates with his memory.

"I saw him here. He was young and carried a guitar on his back," swore Mohammed Boualala, who is in his 60s and grew up in the small settlement of Diabat before joining the army.

In the summer of 1969, Hendrix, the pioneering US guitar wizard whose hits included "Purple Haze" and "Hey Joe", made a brief stop in Essaouira, a former fort town and latter day tourist magnet located five kilometres (three miles) from the village.

There are no soundtracks or images left from the rock icon's journey, but countless myths surround his fleeting trip.

"He visited friends who were staying in the village. It was the last time that we saw him," sighed Boualala, clad in traditional brown qamis tunic.

"They say he is dead but only God knows."

Hendrix choked on his own vomit in a hotel in London on September 18, 1970 after swallowing sleeping pills and drinking red wine.

'Lost the photo'
Images celebrating the American musician are a permanent fixture in Diabat's white houses, nestled in coastal sand.

With its Cafe Jimi and the Hendrix inn, the village has an air of sanctuary, half rock and half flower power.

Action shots and colourful portraits commemorate the historic passing of the guitar hero just before he wowed the crowds at Woodstock.

"Hendrix looked in good shape" when he visited, insisted Abdelaziz Khaba, 72, his memory seemingly unhindered by the sands of time. "He was surrounded by hefty bodyguards."

Khaba added that he had posed for a snap with the guitar wizard, but "lost the photo".

While trips to Morocco in the 1960s by celebrities including Jim Morrison, Paul McCartney and Robert Plant were well documented, mystery swirls around Hendrix's own stay, giving rise to a dizzying array of fantasies.

His "short visit... produced a mountain of erroneous information and fictitious stories," said Caesar Glebbeek, a Hendrix biographer, in an article on the website UniVibes.

Local legend even has it that Hendrix's "Castles made of Sand" was inspired by the ruins of Diabat's Dar Sultan Palace.

But in reality that track was released in 1967, two years ahead of the star's Morocco visit.

Still, this song title is triumphantly daubed on a wooden plaque nailed to the wall in the little cafe in Diabat.

Grains of truth
Further stories of Hendrix's Moroccan adventure abound -- he criss-crossed the country in a van, tried to buy an island off the Essaouira coast, or even the entire village of Diabat, before retreating behind sandcastle walls.

But there are a few grains of truth buried under those dune-sized myths, if the words of a fellow rock legend are anything to go by.

During Hendrix's Morocco visit there was "stuff going on down there which up to this day has not been solved... there were loads and loads of mystical things" happening, Led Zeppelin lead singer and lyricist Plant said in a podcast last year.

Unlike Brian Jones -- founder of the Rolling Stones, who died in 1969 -- Plant sought to get closer to the Sahara, going inland to Marrakesh, rather than to the Rif mountains, an area famed for cannabis plantations.

Stories about Hendrix enchant Abdelhamid Annajar, who sells records in the shadows of Essaouira's ramparts.

"Many tourists follow in his footsteps and want to know everything," he said. "There are also those who come to relive the good old times."

Laurence De Bure, 68, is among those who revel in the nostalgia.

"Everything was crazy at that time," said the Frenchwoman, who spent two months in Essaouira in the early 1970s with a big group of Americans and has been back in town since January.

"I never saw Hendrix, but I knew a Moroccan girl who sewed velvet and vests under his flamboyant clothes for him," De Bure recalled.

Biographer Glebbeek has amused himself by trying to decipher the truth from the mirages of a purple yesteryear -- yes, Hendrix indeed came to Essaouira, where he stayed in a four-star hotel.

But contrary to the hazy claims of tour guides and nostalgic fans, he "didn't even visit Diabat".

© Agence France-Presse

Today's News

September 17, 2020

Knowing Your Art Deeply (Part 1)

Springfield Art Museum presents "Framed: The Art of the Picture Frame"

Exceptional results for the Collection of Paul-Louis Weiller at Christie's Paris

Virus delays completion date for Spain's Sagrada Familia

Simon Lee Gallery exhibits new ceramics and tapestries by Mai-Thu Perret

Phillips to showcase works by Helen Frankenthaler in Southampton

Biggie's crown sells for $595,000 at hip hop auction

bitforms gallery opens an exhibition that can be viewed with Mozilla Hubs on your desktop or by using a VR headset

Group exhibition features more than seventy artists associated with legendary Soho club

Dancing with rice: A meditation at the Met

Moroccan village riffs on Hendrix legends and myths

Portraits fusing painting and photography by Pierre et Gilles on view at Galerie Templon

New online platform launches for limited editions by established and emerging women artists

World-class architects design for dogs at exhibition to be 'unleashed' at Japan House London

Exhibition at Kunst Haus Wien highlights the repercussions of the climate crisis

Claire Oliver Gallery opens debut solo exhibition by artist Adebunmi Gbadebo

Cape Ann Museum Green premieres an exhibition of family portraits taken during the pandemic

Christie's Stella X Smart Works Fashion Auction totals $101,101

Stephen Harrison named Deputy Director of Munson-Williams Museum of Art

Triennale Milano, Cartier Foundation team up in new alliance

Madonna to direct own biopic

Migrate Art announces highlights included in charity auction

Ikon opens most comprehensive UK exhibition of work by Czech artist Krištof Kintera

Portrait painting of Oonagh Guinness by Philip de László sells for $324,500 at Ahlers & Ogletree

The best movies from South Korea you should watch

GetInsta: The best app to get REAL Instagram followers and likes for free!

The Biggest Changes Made in Fortnite Season 4

A Fortnite Building Guide for Beginners

Smoke Testing & Plumbing for Leak Detection in Commercial Buildings

7 Unusual Corn Facts

Panerai Radiomir 1940 One of the World's Most Recognizable Luxury Sports watch

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful