Sunday, April 6, 2014

Most Gnawa-influenced Jil Jilala Tape

This is a gorgeous album by Jil Jilala, dating, I believe, from the mid 1980s.

Jil Jilala have featured a guinbri player at various times in their history. Paco Abderrahmane and Moulay Abdelaziz Tahiri were group members in the early days of the 1970s, and Mustapha Baqbou has been a member at various times since the 1980s. Despite this fact, Jil Jilala have, to my ear, have rarely drawn overt inspiration from Gnawa melodies, songs, riffs or rhythms. This is quite different from the approach of Nass el Ghiwane in their Paco years, when they drew liberally from the Gnawa repertoire.

This album seems to the be exception. I call it their most Gnawa-influenced tape, though even here the influence is mostly subtle. The title track, "Hada Wa'dek Ya Meskine" opens with some solo guinbri riffing. The song's title translates as something like "That's your lot, poor guy", and refers to the Gnawa song "Hada Wa'do Meskine" (That's his lot, poor guy), versions of which we've featured here and here. And when the rhythm shifts at 8:18, the melody also echoes that of the Gnawa original. "Ya Men Narjak" features Gnawa-styled guinbri riffing and rhythm. And the tracks on side 2 feature guinbri lines more Gnawa-ish than on other Jil Jilala albums featuring Mustapha (such as this and this at, and this at Awesome Tapes.

For some great vintage Jil Jilala, check out the posts at Snap, Crackle & Pop. And for some detailed history of the group, check Hammer's megapost at The Audiotopia.

Actually, I just found another Jil Jilala album at Yala, which does feature some very Gnawa moments.

Mastering note: I grafted the first couple measures of "Sfina", which were missing from my tape, from Yala's version.

Jil Jilala - Hada Wa'dek Ya Meskin (Disques Gam GB.85.86)
01 Hada Wa'dek Ya Meskin

02 Ya Men Narjak
03 Sfina
04 Koun m3a Allah

Get it all here.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Rouicha - Ayam Essghur Zina

Here's a nice album from the late, sorely-missed Rouicha. I picked this up in 2012 - The Tichkaphone catalog number seems to indicate (from my estimate) that it dates from the mid-1990s.

I particularly like the opening lotar solo on track 2 - Rouicha has such a fluid, rapid, percussive strum, it sounds almost flamenco! (Or maybe it's just that the melody sounds like the Concierto de Aranjuez...) At any rate, enjoy!

We've got more Rouicha in the stash here and here. And Yala has scads of Rouicha available for listening, though not this particular album.

Rouicha Mohamed - Tichkaphone TCK 1241
Ayam Essghur Zina ( أيام الصغر زينة)

01 Ayam Essghur Zina
02 Suwwelt Rasi Lyoum (excerpt below)
03 Feen Tghib Lahbib
04 Khellit Sammu7 Same7ni

Get it here.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Groupe Iâachaken (ft. Omar Sayed) Vol. 2&3 - Who's Gonna Pull the Cart?

Two more lovely tapes today from Groupe Iâachaken. Like their first album, Iâachaken's second and third albums feature the participation of Nass el Ghiwane's Omar Sayed. I wish I could decode the image of the donkey cart on the 2 accompanying j-cards. On 1993's Magarn Ifassen, Omar Sayed is pulling the entire group, who sits on the cart. On 1994's Mani Nhra, the roles are reversed, and Groupe Iâachaken is pulling him, though apparently Omar achieves this turnaround by dangling a television in front of them. Make of it what you will...

These albums were released on Edition Sonya Disque, a label out of Casablanca whose tapes I first saw in 1993 and who released a lot of music in the '90s and beyond. Nass el Ghiwane released albums on the label and Paco released solo albums on it. Najat Aatabou put out some albums with the label as well.

Magarn Ifassen features qarqaba on several tracks, ramping up the group's generally laid-back feel a bit. The last tune on Mani Nhra, unlike anything else by the group, features ambient keyboard accompanying Omar Sayed's opening mawwal . It's a strange combination - the folk-revival acoustic instruments with the modern sheen of a synthesizer, but it works nicely here. (Much better than it does on a bizarre Nass el-Ghiwane tape I have...). And Omar's mawwal is an interesting one - the vocal ornamentations sound Indian in places. Quite lovely.

By the way, it's nice to hear Omar singing and reciting in Tachelhit. Nass el Ghiwane had never recorded a song in Berber.  News stories last summer indicated that a new album would soon be released, featuring their first-ever song in Berber. However, I've seen no further information about the album. Has anybody heard any news about the album's delay?

From the j-card of Magarn Ifassen:
Lyrics: Lamghari Hamid
Music: Farouq Saîd
Arrangement: Omar Sayed

Groupe Iâachaken - Magarn Ifassen (Edition Sonya Disque 325)
01) Magarn Ifassen (ft. Omar Sayed)
02) Gar Amoudi

03) Tifawin
04) Timila
   Get it here.

Groupe Iâachaken - Mani Nhra (E.S.D. 490)
01) Mani Nhra (ft. Omar Sayed)
02) Our Nsendem Yan
03) Issegueassn
04) Illi Hna (ft. Omar Sayed)

    Get it here.