Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mahmoud Guinia - "First Album" - Live Lila Recording

The cassette seller in Essaouira from whom I purchased this tape told me this was the first commercial recording released by the Gnawi maalem Mahmoud Guinia. I'm guessing that puts it in the late '70s or early '80s.

As I wrote previously, Maalem Mahmoud has released scores of recordings over the years. This one is quite different from all other recordings I've heard by him. It appears to have been recorded at a lila ceremony, and it's a great lila recording. I've had the pleasure of attending a couple of lila-s where Maalem Mahmoud worked, and I thought his playing at the ceremonies was very deep - more interesting than what he does in studio recordings. This tape gets to that place.

No studio production values to be found here - sounds like someone just set up a couple of mics and let them catch the action as it unfolds. The mics are well placed - a strong, punchy guinbri sound, and, importantly, strong qarqaba sound as well. Sometimes in Gnawa recordings the qraqeb get mixed too far down - i prefer it where both are really driving each other to deeper grooving, and that's definitely in effect here.

You get the beginning of the trance portion of the ceremony: the relentless crescendo of the Ftih ar-Rahba, all of the White suite (Salihin), and the beginning of the Multicolored (Bu Derbala)

1) Ftih ar Rahba
2) Hammadi
3) Sala Nabina (Salihin)
4) Jilala
5) Jilali Bualam / Jilali Dawi Hali / Mulay Abdelqader
6) Allah ya Bu Derbala

Get it here

BTW - track titles are mine, not what's written on the j-card.


  1. Sublime Frequencies needs you to curate a compilation of his stuff for them. Maybe a triple disc set.

  2. Totally sublime. Many thanks for this wonderful treat.