Saturday, February 23, 2013

Maâlem Abdelkader Amlil - Gnawa from Rabat

I've been continuing to explore the offerings over at GnawaMaVie's channel on YouTube. There are a few recordings from the Rabat-based maâlem Abdelkader Amlil. Like the musicians I mentioned in my recent post about GnawaMaVie, Maâlem Abdelkader isn't often heard on commercial recordings outside of Morocco. 

I put together a playlist of about 2-1/2 hours of music from one lila performance, very nicely recorded. Many of the songs feature the fantastic Marrakchi singer Saîd Damir a.k.a. "Saghot", (He takes over the lead singing in clip number 4 of the playlist.) It's a striking performance - many of the pieces are played at a very slow tempo, allowing the singing to shine.

I have one cassette of Maâlem Abdelkader in the stash. It dates from around 2001 and features two long tracks. Hope you enjoy!

01) Shorfa (excerpt below)

02) Hamdouchia

Get it all here.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Khouribga Champions - Auto-Tune the Shikhat

The Big 5 - or at least the biggest 5 on Edition Motawakil. "Al-Botooula Al Khribguia" ("The Khouriba Champions" or "Tournament") is a compilation tape featuring some down-home chaâbi with a healthy dose of âita zaêriya. From left to right on the j-card:
  • Mbarek Elmeskini (who was also heard on this other compilation)
  • either Lârbi Briouika or Saleh Al Mzabi
  • Al Âlami
  • Al Hirch
  • Abderrahim El Meskini
Auto-tuned vocals abound on many of these tracks. Not everyone's cup of tea, I know. But I'm digging some of the auto-tuned shikhat (check the Track 4 sample below!) and spoken intros (Track 1).

I couldn't match all of the tracks to the titles on the j-card and vice versa - here's my best guess:

01) Wellahi Ma Sme7 Lik - unknown
02) Az-Zaêri - Lârbi Briouika
03) Hmeqtini Ya Lkas - Al-Âlami
04) Az-Zaêri - Mbark Al Meskini

05) Min Ghirek Enti Mandir Hbib - unknown
06) Az-Zaêri - Saleh Al Mzabi
07) Bkatni Hubbi - Al Hirch
08) Âoujouk As'hab Al Euro - Mbark Al Meskini
09) Kan Jat Yal Demâa - Saleh Al Mzabi
10) Az-Zaêri - Abderrahim Al Meskini

Get it all here.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

100% Tamghra! - Soussi Wedding Pop

Yep, its 100% Tamghra, according to the j-card! Tamghra means "wedding" in Tachelhit. The Arabic tag on the left side reads something like "Songs for the sweetest events and Amazigh weddings."

The music is pretty poppy, but many of the timbres are drawn from long-standing Soussi Berber traditions including ahwach (âwad flutes and punchy bendir-s, and punctuations of interlocking clapping) as well as the amarg tradition of the rwayes musicians (namely, the scratchy horsehair rrbab fiddle and the naqqus metal percussion instrument). The electric guitar sometimes sounds like the small Berber guinbri, and sometimes plays righteous, slippery, pentatonic runs.

The musical group is called "Tisslatin N'Ait Baamran" (The Brides of Ait Baâmran). Here's a swell videoclip of the group in action, with wedding ambiance in abundance:

Ait Baâmran is a group tribes located around the area of Sidi Ifni, south of Agadir and Tiznit. The j-card also gives the name "Habiba", and a web search reveals that the singer is known more fully as Habiba Tabaamrant. (Etymological note: Berber nouns become feminine with the addition of "t" at the beginning and end of the word. Thus, "Tabaâmrant" is the feminine of "Baâmran".)

The singer on this tape should not be confused with the very famous singer Fatima Tabaamrant, who sings in the more classic style of the rwais. Habiba works more in a pop mode, as evidenced by this highly entertaining sketch/videoclip:

Track 4 (of 4)

Get it all here.



Gary at Bodega Pop also posted some nice Soussi pop earlier this weekend. And if you like the sound of brides, Brian at Awesome Tapes shared a tape from another Brides group a while back.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

More Gnawa lila audio at GnawaMaVie

If you're a fan of Gnawa music, it's definitely worth keeping an eye on GnawaMaVie's YouTube channel. There are hours and hours of tunes over there, and many of them seem to be taken from private recordings made at lila ceremonies.

Since YouTube clips are limited in duration, these recordings are necessarily broken up into pieces. I like to listen in sequence, so I've put together playlists for a couple of recordings. Above is a set of recordings featuring the Maâlem Abdelkbir "Kbiber" Benselloum of Marrakech. Below is another playlist, featuring a recording of Maâlem Said Oughassal of Casablanca, who I think lives in Spain.

Both Kbiber and Said are great, longtime maâlems, and neither of them are heard much on CDs or commercial cassettes. Particularly interesting to Gnawa aficionados is the last clip of Kbiber's playlist, which features a couple of songs from the rarely-heard Sebtyin suite.

Kick back and enjoy 3 hours from the deep of the Gnawa night!

Oh - and don't miss the fantastic 3 hour recording of Mustapha Baqbou audio from GnawaMaVie which I wrote about in a previous post.