Sunday, October 25, 2015

Al Hadri Hamid - Non Stop Soussiya

Here's a tape from Meknassi mâllem Hamid al-Hadri. Another tape of his, available in the Stash here, features songs from the opening Ouled Bambara section of the Gnawi lila ceremony. This tape features songs from the very end of the ceremony.

The tape opens with "Lalla Malika", part of the suite of Yellow songs/spirits from the end of the trance phase of the lila. al-Hadri then segues directly into the Soussiya 'popular' repertoire with which Gnawa typically close the night-long ceremony. (I wrote a little bit on Soussiya songs in this early blog post.) And he keeps going, non-stop, for the rest of the album, which fades out at the end of Face B.

This is a nice and unusual tape of Soussiya songs. In performance, Soussiya songs are typically given over to dancing, and are usually pretty raucous. Their light-hearted, fun nature feels like a collective sigh of relief and celebration from musicians, participants and spectators, coming after a long night of plumbing the depths and dreads of the Gnawa palette of colors, spirits and grooves. So it's unusual here that once "Lalla Malika" is finished and we move into Soussiya proper, the qraqeb metal percussion devices drop away, leaving just the guinbri, clapping and vocals. In my experience in Marrakech, the qraqeb get LOUDER during the Soussiya, since more people tend to get up and dance at that point, and they want that driving rhythm that the qraqeb provide. Maybe it's a Meknes thing for the qraqeb to drop out. Or just a quirk of this recording. At any rate, the singing is easy to hear and understand, for a change, so it's nice to get a good earful of these fun songs.

Al Hadri Hamid - Tahiri Disque 103

Excerpt from Track 2 (of 2)

Get it all here.