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.


  1. I dig this, Tim, thanx. I've dug up a few unidentified tapes for you from my own stash, if you'd ever want 'em.

  2. @elFassi - Shukran, friend! Sure, I'd be happy to give a listen and try to identify what you've got. I'm a little backed up right now, so I might not get to them right away. But always interested in hearing new old tapes! Thanks!

  3. Just dropping back to say thank you for this one - I've been catching up with Nass el Ghiwane & followed your lead to Paco's solo work; boy is this tape good! Thank you so much.