Sunday, March 18, 2012

Muluk el Hwa - 80s folk revival, Gnawa front and center

Muluk el Hwa (the "Demons" of Love) formed in the late '70s in Marrakech, riding the folk revival wave of groups like Nass el Ghiwane, Jil Jilala and Lemchaheb. Unlike these groups, Muluk el Hwa performed primarily traditional songs rather than original material. Forefront in their particular mix of traditional forms was Gnawa music.

According to a 2005 resume, the group was "discovered by Spanish author Juan Goytisolo" in 1980 and went on to produce 7 cassettes of traditional Gnawa song, 4 cassettes of Gnawa popular music and 3 cassettes of love songs. The group also collaborated with the Spanish group Al Tall on the album Xarq al Andalus, which focused on medieval Valencian-Andalusian traditions.

One of the members, Abdeljalil Kodssi, has gone on to a number of interesting projects over the years, recording albums with Nass Marrakech and under his own name.

Another member, Hassan Baska, is one of several brothers very active in Marrakech Gnawa life. The maalem of the family is Abbas, who is featured on the 3 hours of YouTube audio I linked to in my last post. Abbas, who was one of my primary interlocutors during my dissertation research on Gnawa music, is also featured on several CDs of Gnawa music - World of Gnawa on Rounder, and Kamar Music's fantastic 3-CD Black Album (2 discs of Gnawa and one of Gnawa-inspired electronic dance music). The latter album is available at CD Baby, where you can also purchase the 2 Gnawa discs seaprarately as mp3 downloads. A third brother, Ahmed, is one of the most recognizable faces in Moroccan Gnawa music. A fabulous dancer-singer and a charismatic presence, he's performed with many Marrakchi maalems on television and CD, including Mahjoub Khalmous, Mustapha Baqbou, and Hmida Boussou. A beautiful album, if you can track it down is Rhabaouine by Gnawa Halwa, featuring Abbas and Ahmed Baska in an atypically pianissimo Gnawa recording.

1) Sa'di bil wali jani
2) Sahiyoun
3) Salah el Bahja (=Chalaba Titara)

4) La ilaha illa Llah
5) An-Negsha

Get it here.


  1. awwww, yeah, love seeing a new post, always.... my mother actually wrote her MA Thesis on Juan Goytisolo, back in the late 1960's, so this is a cool coincidence,indeed...

  2. I'm very glad to have found this site. Thank you so much.

  3. When there is commitment there is good blogs like this. Great Blog. Thank you for sharing Greetings from Australia.

  4. Great blog, indeed. Thanks a lot, Tim.
    This coincided with a Baqbu post by Snap, Crackle, & Pop and when I saw it... it's like throwing balsam over troubled blog-waters that know no rest these days, ma friendo.

    This 70's band is good. Their name is not Muluk as in Daemons, but Kings as in the best. Hawa means Love here, so the name should become 'The Love Kings', or less-literary, 'King Lovers'... however you want it to be.

    Wow-dearful, indeed.

    Stay hip!


  5. Choukran Abdellah ^:^

    I wounder if you've Tapes Linked to Cherifa

  6. Hi Abdel - Do you mean the Cherifa in this article:
    No, I don't have anything by her, but I'm hoping to be in Beni Mellal this summer, so I'll keep my eyes open for recordings! Hope you're doing well!

  7. On another thought, Hawa might mean one of the states of D'jin/Daemons entrancing levels. I am not sure what this band had on its mind when they came with the name, but all and all... it's a great band, nonetheless.

    So, Muluk El-Hawa: The hmm? Hawa (Aether/Air/Thinness - Arabic: هوا/هوى/أثير), is not Daemons in partic, but the air they come with, or this state of transcendentalia aligned with their invocations and incantations. Hard to pin down, really.