Saturday, September 29, 2012

Shaâbiyat Khouloud - 2012 Chaâbi compilation, Soap Opera Riffing

Here's a chaâbi compliation tape I picked up in Beni Mellal. The title is "Shaâbiyat Khouloud with Kamal el Abdi". I recognized El Abdi, the dapper musician whose photo is the largest on the j-card. I also recognized Nabila (bottom right) and El Miloudia (bottom left). But the big question was - who is the great looking couple in the straw hats?! Is this a stylish new pop-rai duo?

On second look (and after listening to the tape's title track), I recognized them - the stars of the smash soap opera "Matensanich" (Don't Forget Me), which is commonly known by the name of the lead female character, "Khouloud". The series, broadcast this year on 2M, is a dubbing into Moroccan Arabic of the Turkish series "Hanımın Çiftliği". 

My wife watches the show, and I've seen a couple of episodes. The show looks pretty compelling (if you like the melodrama of soaps).  I made a point to avoid watching it - I didn't want to get sucked into it like a couple years ago  when I started watching "Ayna Abi", the fab Moroccan Arabic dubbed version of the American telenovela "Amarte Asi". (Everybody Loves Frijolito!)

"Khouloud" was very popular in Morocco this year. Here's a Moroccan pop-rai tune referencing characters from the show:

In the chaâbi-TV crossover songs that I can recall (like here), the lyrics are less about the plots of the shows and more about the obsessions people have with the show. That's the case in both Cheb Hindi's song in the YouTube clip above and, i think, in the title track of today's featured cassette. 

As for the rest of the cassette, it's a pleasant collection of current Moroccan chaabi stylings: some country-chaâbi from Kamal el Abdi, some pop-rai from Cheb Hindi (though I wonder why the tape doesn't include his "Khouloud" song), some peppy pop from Nabila (the queen of chaâbi auto-tune), and a smattering of other chaâbi tracks. The kicking-est track, IMHO, is the unlisted Track 9, an uptempo, percussion-heavy, viola-driven, auto-tuned rave-up riff-fest.

1) Khouloud - Kamal el Abdi
2) Shkoun Lli Âllemek - Al Miloudiya
3) Taâlla Ya Dak - Nabila
4) Mkebel Darkoum - Shaâbiyat Lehbal
5) Ban Liya fi Ûdi - Al Mardi
6) Flous El Ghella - Al Hindi
7) Suwwelu Dak Ezzine - Ar-Rehaala
8) Flous f-Chekkara - Mbarek el Meskini
9) Bonus derdeg - Unknown Chaâbi Group

Get it all here.

Mastering note - as usual, I recorded this tape to my computer with Logic Express, where I divided it into discrete tracks. I typically don't process the sound much thereafter, other than a little compression to smooth out the peaks and let me raise the volume a little. This time, I thought I'd use Logic's built in mastering tool, in particular the Hi-Fi setting. Gives the final product a more shiny sound. Hope it sounds alright!