Saturday, July 30, 2011

Latifa Raafat - Ash-shouk

A lovely album from my fave singer of chanson moderne (or musiqa 'asriya). This genre represents the Moroccan version of 20th century Arab art song, based on the model of great Egyptial musical artists such as Umm Kulthum and Muhammad Abdel Wahab. Big orchestras, lush arrangements, large-scale song forms, thoughtful poetry.

More recent works in this style tend to feature percussion and dance beats more prominently than in the past (e.g. this recent album from Latifa).

The cassette featured here was pretty new when I got it in '92 and has that old-school-modern feel to it.  Enjoy!

1. Ash-shouk
2. Nasyak
3. Harou f-'Amri
4. Nasyak (instrumental)

Get it here.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bnate Errma - Women's drum (machine) circle and party singing

OK, this is one of the more obnoxious cassettes in my stash. You may love it, hate it, or both! Abdenbi (Llah irhamuh) used to flee the room if this came on the tape player back in '92. Not only does it feature the sort of songs that the ladies sing when they get together and sit around drumming and hanging out (and talking crap about the men). But it replaces the cool stratified drumming of Moroccan women's percussion ensembles with a drum machine. Doubly annoying!

Or doubly awesome! You get rocking, spirited, call-response singing, typical themes of unrequited love (track 2), exile (track 3), betrayal (track 6) and trance (track 7), a live derbuka plus electro-drum fills, plenty of zgharit-s (ululations), a guy who adds rhythmic vocal inserts here and there and sounds like a cow (track 6, 1:05), and the epic White Album intro to track 3 ("Airplane, bring me back to my homeland").

Totally saturated sound increases the annoyance/awesomeness factor. Enjoy and/or use it to empty the room of humans.

BTW1 - No idea if the woman pictured on the j-card is part of the ensemble. If I had to guess, I would say probably not.

BTW2 - The group's name Bnate Errma (girls of the rma) suggests some association with the fantastic rural (male) genre 'abidat errma, but I don't know enough about 'abidat errma to know if this group is pulling any special influence from that source.

Get it here.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

M'allem Ali el Mansoum Vol. 2 - Old-school Marrakchi Gnawa

This is Volume 2 (I think) of one of the earliest Gnawa commercial cassettes with nationwide distribution in Morocco, dating from the 1980s. The artist is M'allem Ali el-Mansoum of Marrakech. Mr. Tear over at Snap, Crackle & Pop shared Volume 1 of this series a few weeks ago. My offering is what I believe to be Volume 2 - I think there are only 2 volumes, and this would be the second. I've lost the original j-card to this, if in fact I ever had it.  (The scan is from Volume 1, with the "1" edited out.)

The Gnawa repertoire has its origins in the unwritten past, and it tends to be conservative - new songs are not often added to the repertoire. (An exception is the introduction of the Hamdushiya suite sometime in the last 40 years.)  Changes inevitably occur, though. There's a different "swing" to Mansoum's 6/8 (and the 6/8 I've heard on other recordings of older Marrakchi players) than what one generally hears in Marrakech these days. And Mansoum's singing style was distinctive (whether due to personal style or generational differences) and was recalled fondly among younger Gnawa in Marrakech.
  1. L'Afu Rijal Allah
  2. Hammadi
  3. Sallaw 'Alik ya Rasul Allah
  4. Jilali Dawi Hali - Mulay Abdelqader
  5. Marhaba - Lagnawi Baba Mimoun
  6. Sidi Musa Ba Kinba - Bala Ba Kinba - La ilaha illa Llah Musa
  7. Bori ya Bori - Baniya - Hammouda
Get it here.

Rouicha at African Music Treasures

Haven't had to time to get any more Rouicha together for ya. In the meantime, though, I did stumble across this post from a couple years ago that has a nice article and selected cuts from Rouicha. Enjoy!

African Music Treasures - Rockin' Rouicha