In honor of Ashura, which is celebrated this week, I'm breaking away momentarily from my series of Jbala posts to return to my beloved Marrakech.
Here's a swell tape of daqqa marrakchiya, a fantastic genre performed especially for Ashura, famously in Marrakech (though its roots are apparently in Taroudant).
It's surprisingly difficult to find video examples of it online. The only one I could find is this snippet from the streets of Marrakech, apparently from the Sidi Youssef quarter:
It's performed by large groups of men, most of them with a taârija drum, with one man on a pair of qraqeb. It starts slooooooooooooooow and heavy with looooooong poetic stanzas. Eventually it builds in speed, the rhythms become less complex, and ends with a raucous, deafening section in good 'old 6/8.
It seems like many Moroccans use the term daqqa marrakchiya to refer to what I knew in Marrakech as dqiqiyya or tkitikat - i.e., men's perussion/party ensembles:
These groups are great fun, but should not be confused with the daqqa I'm presenting here.
Etymological excursion: I'm pretty sure the names of these percussion groups are diminutive forms of the names of other Moroccan genres: dqiqqiya being a diminutive form of daqqa, and tkitikat sounding like a diminutive form of taktouka (about which, more next week).
Back to the real daqqa: In bygone days, each neighborhood in Marrakech had its own daqqa group that would perform all night, outdoors, on the night of Ashura. The rhythm of the long, slow opening section (the âayt), is a lopsided thing. It alternates 3 bangs on the taârija with 4 bangs, and each grouping is separated by a clack of the qarqaba whose delivery is streeeeeeeetched out beyond any reasonable sense of meter. Very striking stuff - check the excerpt below for a bit from the beginning and a bit from the end of the tape.
If you like the sound of this, (and I know you do), try to find a copy of the CD La Daqqa: Tambours sacrés de Marrakech. It's a lovely 62 minute recording (one single track!), with excellent performers.
Dekka de Marrakech: Majmuât ad-daqqa al-marrakchiya under the direction of al Hajj Muhammad Baba
Excerpts from sides 1 and 2
Get it all here.
PS - I love the blue Sawt al Haouz cassette shell:
Not forgetting the logo featuring the Koutoubia:
And the Doctor Who-ish psychedelic j-card design. Nuff said.