Sunday, November 15, 2015

Mustapha Oumguil Twofer - Amazigh Album and Darija Disque

Paris, Beirut, Syria, Iraq, et al. Wishing relief to those mourning, scared, suffering. Music blogging may not count for much in the big picture, but if it brings some smiles and spreads a little cross-cultural grooving, it's a positive activity.

Here's a pair of albums from violist Mustapha Oumguil. A prolific artist, Oumguil has recorded extensively, singing in both Moroccan Arabic (darija) and Central Atlas Tamazight. He hails from El Hajeb (between Meknes and Azrou), as reflected in the name of his cassette label, Tasjilat el Hajeb (El Hajeb Recordings).

This is music for shimmying and shaking in a Middle Atlas sort of way. Check the dancing ladies in the concert footage below - hips don't lie, and Oumghil keeps 'em gyrating all night long. Thousands of Moroccans agree, as evidenced by his appearance at the huge Mawazine festival in Rabat this year:

This is 21st century chaâbi, keyboard-heavy and auto-tuned, but with enough local flavor to keep it countrified. This can be heard in melodies themselves, especially those of the Tamazight language songs. The always-prominent bendir frame drums also keep that Middle Atlas feel prominent.

The Tamazight album comes from a CD that passed through my house earlier this week. It had no artwork, only the name of Oumguil and the title "Tarbat Ighoudan" (a song that is featured in the concert video above).  The Arabic tape is one that I picked up in Beni Mellal in 2012. If you want more Oumguil, there are loads of other Arabic albums at Yala and Amazigh albums at IzlanZik. There's even a $2 album over at Amazon! And check out this this post from last year featuring Abdelâziz Ahouzar, an artist working in a vein similar to Oumguil.

Mustapha Oumghil - Tarbat Ighoudan (CD, 2007)
Track 3 (of 4)


Mustapha Oumghil - Lghaleb Allah ya Bent Ennass (Tasjilat el Hajeb cassette, 2012)
01 Lghaleb Allah ya Bent Ennass
02 Tekmi Garou ou Chicha
03 Talian Ghadrouni b S7ab
04 De7hki ou Tmedghi fel Meska
05 Siri Siri Ghir Nsay
06 Zaêri

Get 'em all here.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Shikh al Moutchou - Jaîdan

More of that good âita zaêriya from Shikh el Moutchou. Check here for an earlier post with some info about him (courtesy of Hammer's comments) and about the âita genre (courtesy of Ahmed Aydoun's book). And check below for a sample. Grab the whole thing to hear the bitchin' 9/8 opening track. It's on Production Hicham al Atlas, so you know it's rocks!

Shikh al Moutchou and Ibrahim - Jaîdan (Hicham al Atlas 52/10)
01 Jaîdan
02 Zaêri
03 Saken
04 Ya Chabba Ya Khumriya
05 Alawah Alawah
06 Ben Mousa Saken

Get it here.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Al Hadri Hamid - Non Stop Soussiya

Here's a tape from Meknassi mâllem Hamid al-Hadri. Another tape of his, available in the Stash here, features songs from the opening Ouled Bambara section of the Gnawi lila ceremony. This tape features songs from the very end of the ceremony.

The tape opens with "Lalla Malika", part of the suite of Yellow songs/spirits from the end of the trance phase of the lila. al-Hadri then segues directly into the Soussiya 'popular' repertoire with which Gnawa typically close the night-long ceremony. (I wrote a little bit on Soussiya songs in this early blog post.) And he keeps going, non-stop, for the rest of the album, which fades out at the end of Face B.

This is a nice and unusual tape of Soussiya songs. In performance, Soussiya songs are typically given over to dancing, and are usually pretty raucous. Their light-hearted, fun nature feels like a collective sigh of relief and celebration from musicians, participants and spectators, coming after a long night of plumbing the depths and dreads of the Gnawa palette of colors, spirits and grooves. So it's unusual here that once "Lalla Malika" is finished and we move into Soussiya proper, the qraqeb metal percussion devices drop away, leaving just the guinbri, clapping and vocals. In my experience in Marrakech, the qraqeb get LOUDER during the Soussiya, since more people tend to get up and dance at that point, and they want that driving rhythm that the qraqeb provide. Maybe it's a Meknes thing for the qraqeb to drop out. Or just a quirk of this recording. At any rate, the singing is easy to hear and understand, for a change, so it's nice to get a good earful of these fun songs.

Al Hadri Hamid - Tahiri Disque 103

Excerpt from Track 2 (of 2)

Get it all here.