Sunday, March 10, 2013

I Got A Fever, And The Only Prescription is More Scissors! - Âbidat Errma

Âbidat Errma - a traditional rural genre, found around the region of Khouribga. Similar in some respects to âita - some of its poetry is very old, often features a series of different lead singers over the course of a performance, singers also dance. Unlike âita, it is a male genre and traditionally features only percussion - bendir-s, ta'rija-s and, distinctively, a sawed-off pair of scissors beaten with a metal rod.

I gotta say, I love the scissors! What a great musical instrument - unlike some Moroccan metal percussion instruments (e.g., the naqqus or qarqaba), with the scissors (mqess) one can modulate the timbre by opening and closing the shears! Here's some old-school âbidat errma - check 4:45 forward for some good scissors action:

In the early years of the last decade, âbidat errma experienced a new popularity. I'm not sure how that happened - it may have been due to television exposure featuring some young performers. Here's a recent clip from Moroccan TV, featuring some of the entertaining, pantomime dancing that makes âbidat errma so well-loved.

Whatever the reason may have been, young groups of âbidat errma performers began to proliferate. Here's a tape from around 2004 out of Beni Mellal (on the label Ain Asserdoun Disque!) from a group called Noujoum Al-Asala Al-Âmriya:

Track 8 (of 8)
Get it all here.

As I complained in a previous post, despite the renewed popularity of âbidat errma, it seems that it has quickly been subsumed into another flavor of chaâbi by the incorporation of viola (and sometimes other full-band instruments like guitar and keyboard), at least in recordings.  It makes for a pretty fun flavor of chaâbi - you still get a lot of call-response vocal, a battery of bendir-s and ta'rija-s, and of course the iconic scissors. But I was sad last summer to find not a single cassette of âbidat errma without a viola there to chaâbi-fy the mix.

For good measure, here's a chaâbi-fied âbidat errma tape from the group Majmuât Essayada. I think I got this back in 2006.  It is indeed good fun, and features the perennial fave "Baghi Naâmmer Eddar". Still, I don't think it needs the viola to make it rock.

Majmuât Essayada - Nashat Errma (Edition Safi 0502)
01 Baghi Naâmmer Eddar - Essahra Bladna
02 Âlash Tsalou
03 L-Bnat Berhou
04 Hadi âla Loulid

05 Wah A Baba - Wahya Loulad - Snah Esserbat

Get it here.


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