A scratchy viola, a few buzzy hand drums, and some lady vocalists (or men emulating them) who milk 3 or 4 piercing pitches all night long. It's aita haouzia - rural Arabic song from the region of Marrakech. This is some deep, raw country music. No darbuka-s here - just the down-home buzz of the little clay ta'rija and the bendir frame drum.
The vocalist is the late Shikha Makhloufia. I believe she's the main vocalist featured in this clip:
The viola player is Shikh Hassan el Dariouki (I've also seen it written "Darouki"). His troupe Oulad El Haouz is regularly featured at national festivals and on state-run TV to represent this style of music. (On good days I also used to find them on the Djemaa el Fna in Marrakech.) Oulad El Haouz is an all-male group, but the men have no trouble singing the same 3 or 4 piercing high pitches that the women sing:
For you lovers of quintuple meter, you'll find a couple of pieces in 5/4 (or 10/8 or whatever) on this tape (tracks 2 & 3).
1) Suwweli f-Riyadu
3) Mul Shi'ba
BTW - Track 2 stretched across the break between sides A and B of the cassette. I did my best to merge them into a single track, though the fadeout was a challenge.
Get it here.