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From Cannes to Cambodia with Camels In Between

by Erin Grover
June 30, 2014 11:23 AM
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A nomadic journey into the Sahara, just after my time at the Cannes Film Festival

Yep, I'm far from Kansas.

There's something to be said about listening to gut feelings and taking a leap into the abyss. This is what is was for me to leave my home in LA and embark on another worldly adventure. The main professional goal was to go to the Cannes Film Festival to check it out and see what would happen. It was a risk - I let go of my place in LA and put all my belongings into storage - but I had to take it, as I had a strong feeling that I should go to Cannes since last fall. 

At first, I was concerned about the money it would take to get there and what I'd have to spend once I got to the festival. Long story short, it all worked out ;-)

After Cannes, I went to Morocco for the best music festival I've ever experienced. It was for Gnawa music, which is the ancient shamanic music of Morocco's nomadic tribes, otherwise know as the 'berber'. It was soul stirring, and something that can never be truly explained or matched by past experiences (my time in the Himalayas comes close). I recorded one random street performance from the festival - you can listen to it here. 

Morocco was breathtaking, a crazy adventure! It wasn't in the plans - but I went off to the Sahara Desert to the towering orange sand dunes with a group of nomads. It was something surreal, like a scene from The Little Prince. This is where I had one of the most beautiful moments of my life - I slept on a sand dune with nothing but the full moon and stars as my ceiling, while listening to my favorite ambient electronic music. It was a rare kind of peace and quiet. I could feel the breath of the universe there, and it was something quite extraordinary. 

One of the results of Cannes is now unfolding and I can finally share a little bit - I just left Bangkok and have arrived in Cambodia to research the film world and interview filmmakers who are rising from the ashes of the Khmer Roughe's genocide from the not so distant past. It's a one month project that was seeded at Cannes, and has quickly sprouted into something more! If all goes well, I'll continue this work in other countries. 

That's all for now. Please have a listen to my recording of the Moroccan music from my trip and enjoy images from my journey below. 

Yours truly learning about nomadic culture from a village boy. He said, "My family is small because we are nomads. Too many children on the road, means too much drama. This is why we keep it small!" I totally concur - traveling with too many people can be a drag!!! Gosh, I really am a nomad!
A random jam session with Gnawa musicians
Shadows of my journey with the Sahara caravan.
Love the camels! They're much sweeter and more regal than I ever imagined. :-)

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