Archive for culture

Have your own Moroccan henna experience or give it as a gift

Posted in art, classes, culture, design, henna, history, morocco, traditions with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 26, 2012 by kenzilisa

6282009095_2793513168_zNow that I don’t believe in Santa anymore and can buy stuff for myself my attitude about gifts has shifted. I love handmade gifts or things bought while travelling, but I especially like experiences. There are so many great sites now offering classes and tours, among other things, that are great for gifts. I’ve been shopping around these sites for myself and for other people. Then recently I was contacted by this really cool start-up called SideTour that organizes really cool experiences; they wanted me to do something related to Moroccan henna and I’m excited to tell you about it. You can see more information here: and also sign up for a spot. There are only 8 spots left so don’t miss out on this. If you have always wanted to have henna done this is a great way to do it: you’ll learn about henna, meet other people who share your passion for it and get henna done on you by an expert…me!

By the way, I liked this site so much that I got someone on my list a gift certificate and he said it was the best gift he got all year!

Moor Moroccan Master Henna Workshop in NYC, October 16, 2010

Posted in algeria, amazigh, art, classes, critique, culture, design, henna, history, moor, the book, morocco, people, sahara, tattoos, traditions, women, workshop with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 3, 2010 by kenzilisa

Nic and I (aka Kenzi) are teaching a Moroccan henna master class in NYC for the all the Northeast henna artists.

Saturday, October 16, 2010
Noon – 5 pm
Alwan for the Arts, New York City

We’ll be covering Moroccan henna traditions and designs in an in-depth¬†5-hour master class with live demos and hands-on coaching. This is a rare opportunity to not only learn from two of the premiere experts in Moroccan henna but also a chance to hang with us after (afterparty location to be announced).

The lecture/demo part of the workshop will be about 3-3.5 hours long. Everyone will get handouts of the information presented and we plan to dazzle you with a slideshow of awesome henna photos. There will be a Q&A period afterwards and a lot of hangout time to henna each other and practice what you have learned. Nic and I will be there, walking around and helping out as you practice. We will have henna and applicators, but you can bring your own henna and applicator to play with.

Cost for the workshop will be $60 for early registration (before October 1, 2010), $75 thereafter.  You pay for your spot online here.

See you in NYC!!

Lalla Aisha and the Gnaoua

Posted in amazigh, culture, henna, morocco, music, people, traditions with tags , , , , , , on April 17, 2010 by nictharpa

While doing the research for Moor, Kenzi and I encountered all kinds of strange and supernatural characters, in the form of jnoun. Jnoun (plural, jinn singular) are a race of spirits engaged with on various levels by the Moroccan people, and form an important part of the Moroccan Sufi Muslim belief system. They are very fond of henna, and have many odd quirks that cause us humans to have to be wary- they are not difficult to anger, and results could be highly undesirable.

While researching, we began at points to be moderately obsessed with the jnoun– did they live in New York City and not just Morocco? Were they hiding in the drain, the armoire, or other common jinn hangouts? Were we going to invite their wrath by not offering them our leftover henna as prescribed? The most fearsome of all is Aisha Qandisha, also called Lalla Aisha, who often appears as a beautiful woman with the feet of a camel.

The Sufi groups in Morocco have unique ways of negotiating with these jnoun. One of the most important ways is through music. The music of the Gnaoua order, who moved north to Morocco from sub-Saharan Africa is especially haunting, featuring a bass lute called a guembri and several pairs of metal clappers called qaraqeb. An invocation to the jinn is sung and she is invited into the ceremony.

Here’s a short clip of one of my favorite Gnaoua songs, youbati:

Ultimately, we’re pretty sure the jnoun haven’t made it over to the states yet… but watch out!