Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hassan el-Dariouki & al-Makhloufia - Raw Scratch-and-Buzz Aita from Marrakech

A scratchy viola, a few buzzy hand drums, and some lady vocalists (or men emulating them) who milk 3 or 4 piercing pitches all night long. It's aita haouzia - rural Arabic song from the region of Marrakech. This is some deep, raw country music. No darbuka-s here - just the down-home buzz of the little clay ta'rija and the bendir frame drum.

The vocalist is the late Shikha Makhloufia. I believe she's the main vocalist featured in this clip:

The viola player is Shikh Hassan el Dariouki (I've also seen it written "Darouki"). His troupe Oulad El Haouz is regularly featured at national festivals and on state-run TV to represent this style of music. (On good days I also used to find them on the Djemaa el Fna in Marrakech.) Oulad El Haouz is an all-male group, but the men have no trouble singing the same 3 or 4 piercing high pitches that the women sing:

For you lovers of quintuple meter, you'll find a couple of pieces in 5/4 (or 10/8 or whatever) on this tape (tracks 2 & 3).

1) Suwweli f-Riyadu
2) L-Khadem
3) Mul Shi'ba
4) Rouidia

BTW - Track 2 stretched across the break between sides A and B of the cassette. I did my best to merge them into a single track, though the fadeout was a challenge.

Get it here.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mahmoud Guinia - "First Album" - Live Lila Recording

The cassette seller in Essaouira from whom I purchased this tape told me this was the first commercial recording released by the Gnawi maalem Mahmoud Guinia. I'm guessing that puts it in the late '70s or early '80s.

As I wrote previously, Maalem Mahmoud has released scores of recordings over the years. This one is quite different from all other recordings I've heard by him. It appears to have been recorded at a lila ceremony, and it's a great lila recording. I've had the pleasure of attending a couple of lila-s where Maalem Mahmoud worked, and I thought his playing at the ceremonies was very deep - more interesting than what he does in studio recordings. This tape gets to that place.

No studio production values to be found here - sounds like someone just set up a couple of mics and let them catch the action as it unfolds. The mics are well placed - a strong, punchy guinbri sound, and, importantly, strong qarqaba sound as well. Sometimes in Gnawa recordings the qraqeb get mixed too far down - i prefer it where both are really driving each other to deeper grooving, and that's definitely in effect here.

You get the beginning of the trance portion of the ceremony: the relentless crescendo of the Ftih ar-Rahba, all of the White suite (Salihin), and the beginning of the Multicolored (Bu Derbala)

1) Ftih ar Rahba
2) Hammadi
3) Sala Nabina (Salihin)
4) Jilala
5) Jilali Bualam / Jilali Dawi Hali / Mulay Abdelqader
6) Allah ya Bu Derbala

Get it here

BTW - track titles are mine, not what's written on the j-card.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Arab-Andalusian-style Qur'an recitation and Nashid at the Oriental Traditional Music blog

Several fantastic posts this month over at the Oriental Traditional Music from LPs and Cassettes blog. 2 cassettes of the rarely heard Moroccan style of Qur'an recitation that follows the melodic structures of Arab-Andalusian music. I'm told that this reciter, Al-Haj Abd er-Rahman ben Moussa, used to be featured prominently on Moroccan state media years ago. These days, the Qur'an recitation on the Moroccan channels tends to follow a more Middle Eastern model.

Also available, some lovely a capella amdah and inshad (religious poetry), also in Arab-Andalusian style, from the munshid Al-Haj Muhammad al-Barraq.

Many thanks to Tawfiq for making these available for Ramadan enjoyment!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Paco Abderrahmane - Monde Spirituelle Gnaoui

Another tape from Paco, the fiery guinbri-playing dynamo from Nass el Ghiwane. (My earlier musings on Paco can be found here.) I believe this is his first solo cassette, though I don't know for sure - at least this is the oldest one I ever found. I'm guessing it's from the 1980s.

In the opening track "Ma Fik Khayr Ya Denya", Paco takes an approach similar to what he did in some Nass el Ghiwane songs - using melodies from the Gnawa repertoire and adding new lyrics of his own composition. With Nass el Ghiwane, Paco used this approach for songs like "Sadma" (based on the Gnawa song "Negsha" - see vid clip below), and "Lebtana" (based on the Gnawa song "Marhaba"). The Gnawa songs being riffed on here are "Mbirkiriya" and "Fofo Denba". These adaptations were enjoyed by traditional Gnawa musicians, and I have heard Gnawa singers insert some of Paco's lyrics into ritual performances of the original songs.  (Specifically, the refrain "O Ya denya, hara u marra" from this song, and the line "L-guelb majruh, la bad ineen" from "Sadma")

Tracks 2 and 4 are pretty straight-forward renditions of Gnawa songs (with some extra percussion added to the guinbri-qarqaba-vocal texture). Track 3 sounds like it could be a Soussiya song from the end of the lila repertoire, but I've never heard it before. Track 4 is an epic, side-long version of "La ilaha illa Llah" from the Gnawa repertoire, with a dramatic spoken intro à la Nass el Ghiwane.

1) Ma Fik Khayr Ya Denya
2) Sandi
3) Wadi As-Sahat
4) Ar-Rahil (=La ilaha illa Llah)

Get it here.

BTW - track titles on the cassette sleeve are out of order from what's on the tape. Tracks 1 and 2 are identified from the lyrics, but 3 and 4 are guesses. I'm guessing Ar-Rahil ("the departure") is the long track equivalent to "La ilaha illa Llah", since the lyrics are sort of about a journey, but I could be wrong.

BTW2 - Oops - I linked to the other Paco tape by mistake. Link is now fixed - sorry for the confusion.