Continuing with another aita post, and vintage stuff too. This tape is another vinyl-to-cassette dub, purchased from a vendor in Rabat in the mid-'90s.
My translation of a short article on Bouchaib el Bidaoui:
He is regarded by many experts as the renovator and modernizer of the art of Aïta. "Before Bouchaïb the Aïta was limited to being a traditional country song, tribal and pastoral. He succeeded in urbanizing the art by maintaining the lyrics while developing more sophisticated musical arrangements, says Hassan Bahraoui, author of "The Art of the Aïta in Morocco".
Bouchaïb formed, with violinist Marshal Kibbou and Bent Chikha Louqid the star-troupe of the 50s and 60s. At first, nothing predisposed this colonial French lawyer's accountant and native of Derb Dalia (in the old medina of Casablanca) to become the darling of the Moroccan pop music. It was at a chance meeting in the 1940's with two bourgeois fans of chikhate, Benjdiya and Ben M'sik... that he attended performances of the stars at the time, Hajja Rouida and Arjouniya, at moussem-s and weddings. "It was from there that Bouchaïb choose his vocation as a chikh," says Mr. Bahraoui.
With independence , festivity gains the four corners of the kingdom to celebrate the return of Mohammed V and regained freedom. The artist increased his appearances and made his first recordings for Boudraouaphone and Baïdaphone. "He did fantastic work on the repertoire. He excelled in Marsawi aita-s and made the songs of Abda available to the general public. Finally, Bouchaïb would improvise his own successful aita-s that are still performed today, such as "Dabayji", "Milouda bent Driss" and "Alkass a Abbas," the professor emphasized...
Bouchaïb died in 1964 at the age of 35.Although the quote states that Bouchaib el Bidaoui chose the profession of shikh, it would be more accurate to say that he chose the profession of shikha - he sang women's songs in a woman's vocal range, and performed wearing women's clothing. He was not the first Moroccan performer to do this, but was the first to reach national stardom in this role, in the age of mechanical reproduction.
The style of aita represented here is different from that of my previous aita posts. If my memory is correct, this style, aita marsawiya, is associated with the coastal region around Casablanca and El Jadida. In addition to the viola, oud, and bendir, the darbuka is used here.
I don't see any Bouchaib el Bidaoui video footage on the web (though I could swear I've seen some before, perhaps on Moroccan TV.) However, if you close your eyes and listen to Khalid from the Ouled Bouazzaoui group, you could swear you're hearing Bouchaib el-Bidaoui - he's a dead ringer. But don't close your eyes - Khalid's a great performer and plays the viola as well as sings (though he doesn't wear women's clothes).
Here are a couple of websites with a bunch of streaming audio of Bouchaib el Bidaoui:
- Daba Iji
- Ma Cheftou Leghzal
- Ma Cheftou Leghzal pt. 2
- Kharboucha pt. 2
- Track 06
- Al-Ma'bud Allah
- Rkoub el Kheil (Mal Hbibi)
- Rkoub el Kheil pt 2
- Lli Bgha Habibou
- Lli Bgha Habibou pt 2
- Chiaa Alik
- Nghadrou Kissane
- Aalach Taadini
BTW - More quintuple meter featured here in this tape ("Lli Bgha Habibou").
BTW2 - The marsawi version of "Kharboucha" (heard on this tape and in the video clip) opens with a 42-beat rhythmic cycle. This differs from the hasbawi version of "Kharboucha" performed by Fatna bent el-Houcine here, which opens with a 40-beat cycle.