Gnaoua No. 1 [All Published]. Ira Cohen, ed, William S. Burroughs.

Gnaoua No. 1 [All Published]

Tangier: Gnaoua, 1964. First edition. 8vo. 103 pp. Offset printed and perfect bound in fuschia wraps illustrated by Rosalind.

The only issue published of one of the most important little mags of the 1960's. The shamanistic approach of the magazine laid the groundwork for Ira Cohen's later work with Angus Maclise in Nepal with the Bardo Matrix, and would influence a number of later magazines. Gnaoua is also a remarkable snapshot of the Tangiers expat scene.

The magazine shows up in some surprising places. Gnaoua is one of the handful of curated and coded items visible in the Daniel Kane photograph which graces the cover of Bob Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home (located on the mantelpiece, next to the Lord Buckley album).

The magazine also features the first appearance of the article by Brion Gysin entitled "The Pipes of Pan", about his encounter with the Master Musicians of Jajouka. Gysin and Mohamed Hamri would later take Brian Jones to hear the music, which led to the release of the legendary 1968 album "The Pipes of Pan at Joujouka". The 1995 cd re-release was posthumously edited to remove any mention of Mohamed Hamri. There is a great piece entitled "Style" by Irving Rosenthal, under the pseudonym J. Sheeper, and photographs by Jack Smith. Other contributors include William S. Burroughs, Ian Sommerville, Harold Norse (a cut-up influenced prose piece, Sniffing Keyholes"), Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Jack Smith, Marc Schleifer, Mohammed Ben Abdullah Yussufi, J. Weir, Stuart Gordon, Tatiana, and Alfred Jarry.

Each item in the Daniel Kane photograph of Dylan which graces the cover of Bringing it All Back Home appears to be carefully curated, and the symbolism of each has been obsessively debated by record junkies in the years since. Gnaoua seems to have a place of prominence. It presides over the the scene from the mantelpiece, and, along with Sally Grossman's red dress is the focal point of color for the composition. It is a powerful symbol for an album in which Dylan would distance himself from the folk scene and the protest songs of yore and strike out in a new and more personal direction.

The writing in Gnaoua is uniformly strong. As well as excellent work by William S. Burroughs and Michael McClure it also prints for the first time Brion Gysin's essay "The Pipes of Pan", about the Master Musicians of Jajouka- an essay that would lead to the 1968 recordings of the group by Brian Jones. But the highlight for me is J. Sheeper's strange and beautiful manifesto Style - a work that demands to be reprinted. In this piece Rosenthal states that "The feelings books contain are real. Books should be covered in skin if you don't believe me." Gnaoua inaugurated a tendency to create the the printed object as a shamanistic talisman, and laid the groundwork for the beautiful experiments with woodblocks and handmade paper which Cohen would later undertake with Angus Maclise in Nepal under the Bardo Matrix and related imprints.

A very good example, with the usual fading to the spine, though the front cover remains quite vivid. There is some faint pencile affecting the cover from an old price writ large, but not to visible (and possibly erasable, though we haven't tried). There is also a 1" stain to the verso of the Ian Sommerville fold out plate, not affecting image. Item #29318

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