Saturday, October 8, 2011

Grab Bag o' Izlan & 'Aita from mrsblucher

First off - if you use Firefox, I highly recommend you install the Lazarus add-on - it makes a cache of things you type in forms so that if you spend 2 hours writing and formatting a nice blog post or email and then Blogger eats your draft (or your system crashes), you can recover what you wrote rather than having to start from scratch again. Unfortunately, I learned that a little too late - I'd meant to post these a couple weeks ago, but haven't had time to re-write my post since Blogger ate my draft...

Many thanks to mrsblucher for passing along this cache tape dubs! Some found objects, some heard in long taxi rides, and some obtained for their bitchin' covers. Mrsblucher recently posted a cool rai tape to his new blog, which you should check out. (Lots of other great vinyl goodies over there, including bird song, post-punk, and Boris Karloff reading Aesop's fables...)

On to the goods: 

Cheikh el-Maati el-Marrakchi (Sawt Al Menara, TC, Morocco)

A kicking 'aita offering (sounds like Safi-style to me) with viola and oud, darbuka, bendir and ta'rija, and a trio of unidentified vocalists belting it out. I could listen to this stuff all nite long...

A01) Suwwel ya L-Kubida / 'Ala Qablu Jaya / Ghzali Ghzali / Rja' Ya L-Mkhasmni
B01) Rja' Ya L-Mkhasmni (cont'd)
B02) Hadik Mmwi, Hadik Khti / Haouz Haouz
B03) La Bas

Get it here. 

Salah Asmaali - (Editions Hassania EH1125, 
TC, Morocco, 198-)

Some 'aita song lyrics have verses that flow together into a more or less narrative or structured form. Others are really free flowing, allowing singers pick and choose couplets from a stock repertoire to suit the mood of the audience. In this stripped-down 'aita recording (one viola, one bendir, occasional finger cymbals), the single vocalist delivers a string of short couplets over the course of 2 sides. I could only match one song title definitively (L-Gnawi, at the end of side 2) - the rest of the pieces follow the unidentified singer on a taxi ride through a landscape of stock themes - lost love, persecution, shout-outs to different cities, madness and possession.

I think this style, which features long viola answers to each sung couplet, is called za'riya, but I could be wrong.

A01) Hsab Za'ri - Sherrebuk Elluz
A02) Saleb 'Aqli
B01) Tab Qalbi
B02) Ma Lqit Ahbab - L-Gnawi

Get it here. 

Salah Asmaali - (Editions Hassania EH1127, 
TC, Morocco, 198-)

Another tape from the same violist, but with in different style. It opens up with some more za'riya, but then moves into more structured songs with refrains and a chorus of vocalists and several percussionists. The blatant patriotism of "Sahara Biladi" is balanced by the cool pilgrimage song for Moulay Abdellah.

A01) Wash Ja Idir / Moulay Abdellah ben Imghar
A02) Hada Hali Ya L-Mwima
B01) Sahara Biladi / Erribta Ezzughbiya

Get it here.

Unknown Artist - Middle Atlas Amazigh Guitar (Voix Bassatine) (found tape, Morocco)

And rounding out the cache is a swell find - more of that great slinky electric-guitar-driven izlan from the Middle Atlas. Wish I knew who the artists were! Unlike the tape shared in my previous post on this style, the ensemble here adds a viola and synth bass to the mix.

5 rocking tunes here.

And don't forget to visit mrsblucher's blog to complete the cache with a groovy rai compilation tape.


  1. oh yeh thanks for bringing these tapes to LIFE!!

  2. hooray!!! yeah!!!! lotsa fun!!!!!!!