Gnaoua

Magazines & Presses

Gnaoua

Ira Cohen
Tangier, Morocco

Gnaoua 1 (Spring 1964). Sole issue.

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Poet, photographer, filmmaker, editor, and publisher Ira Cohen first arrived in Tangier in 1961 where he met William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Paul Bowles, and others in the Morocco expat community. Three years later he produced the classic one-shot magazine Gnaoua. According to Cohen’s introduction: “GNAOUA after Black African sect in Morocco known for ecstatic dancing and procession trances…The object is EXCORCISM.” There is a strong expatriate Beat flavor to the magazine; contributors include: Burroughs, Ian Sommerville, Gysin, Harold Norse, Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, J. Sheeper [Irving Rosenthal], Jack Smith, Marc Schleifer, Mohammed Ben Abdullah Yussufi (translated by Rosenthal), J. Weir, Stuart Gordon, Tatiana, Alfred Jarry (translated by George Andrews), Gnaoua Song (translated by Christopher Wanklyn), and Rosalind. Irving Rosenthal, author of Sheeper (1967), edited Big Table 1 (1959) and introduced Cohen to Jack Smith.

A plate used for Jack Smith’s “Superstars of Cinemaroc” portfolio in Gnaoua.

A plate used for Jack Smith’s “Superstars of Cinemaroc” portfolio in Gnaoua.

The portfolio of Smith’s work in Gnaoua presents images from his infamous film Flaming Creatures (1963), in which Rosenthal appears. Marc Schleifer (later Professor S. Abdallah Schleifer) edited the first four issues of Kulchur, during which time he was married to Marian Zazeela, who appeared in the photographs of Smith’s The Beautiful Book. Rosalind [Schwartz] was Cohen’s then girlfriend; at the suggestion of Brion Gysin she wrote The Hashish Cookbook under the pseudonym Panama Rose.

Ira Cohen’s directions for printing the Gnaoua cover.

Ira Cohen’s directions to the printer for the Gnaoua cover.

Gnaoua Press publications (complete):

Panama Rose. The Hashish Cookbook. 1966.

de Roussy de Sales, Aymon. The Founding Pig. 1966.

Panama Rose [Rosalind Schwartz], The Hashish Cookbook (1966).

Panama Rose [Rosalind Schwartz], The Hashish Cookbook (1966).