Hakmoun is a Moroccan musician who grew up on the streets of Marrakech and discovered, in 1987, that he liked the streets of New York even better.

Hakmoun is a Moroccan musician who grew up on the streets of Marrakech and discovered, in 1987, that he liked the streets of New York even better. He's been in the U.S. ever since, but his musical roots are embedded in the Gnawa music of Morocco. Those roots are most evident on "Mimouna" and "Lala Aisha," songs that clearly reference the trance-inducing vibe of Gnawa and the derderba ceremony. The rest of the tunes draw inspiration from a variety of sources. "Waterfall" is an unequivocal reggae number. The title track—a duet with Paula Cole—is a pop tune. Hakmoun is a native of North Africa, but his musical ideas are pan-African and are strongly colored by the time he's spent immersed in the U.S. music scene. The principal gift here is Hakmoun's impressive, eclectic, songwriting talent.—PVV