Sunday, March 31, 2013

Best Ever Najat Aâtabou Tape!

This is my favorite album by one of my favorite artists. If you're new to Najat, check here for my intro to her and her work. If you know her already, you know about her stunning voice, her groundbreaking songwriting, and the killer Middle Atlas grooves she rides.

This is, I believe, her second album, and it's a classic. The four great songs are performed in long versions, with no-nonsense arrangements, allowing singer and oud player to stretch out, ride the groove, and build intensity. The big hit was "Shoufi Ghirou", and fantastic it is. My fave track, though is the lead-off "Ach Dart Ana" ("What Did I Do?") - Mother, what did I do? By God, I haven't grown tired of you. This separation was brought upon us by the Lord.

I would have posted this earlier, but I've managed to lose the j-card somewhere in the stash, and it's a beautiful one. I kept hoping it would turn up, but to no avail. The only image I could find of it was on a rip of the cassette posted on Daily Motion:

The  inside of the j-card features a lovely photo of a heartbroken Najat (with modern coif and dress) embracing a woman in a traditional jellaba. The embraced woman is shown from behind, so we don't see her face. It always seemed to me that the photo was meant to go with the song "Ach Dart Ana", posing a hope for reconciliation that isn't found in the song itself. If I ever find that j-card, I'll be sure to scan it for ya. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy these tunes as much as I do!

01) Ash Dart Ana
02) Shoufi Ghirou
03) Lin Hroubi
04) Ezzaida Melami

Get 'em all here.
More Najat in the stash here.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Old School Âbidat Errma

Here's some raw, old-school âbidat errma. Unlike the tapes I posted last week, which featured young lads riding the revival in the early 2000's, this much older recording features some real oldsters! I hear some metal percussion here, but it doesn't sound like scissors to me - I can't hear the distinctive opening and closing sound. On the other hand, the j-card does feature a gentleman playing the scissors (lower right corner).

Some of these songs are also performed as part of the âita repertiore. You can hear a longer version of Âda ya L-Khayl performed by the incomparable Fatna Bent El Houcine & Ouled Ben Aguida here.

02) Al-Âloua

05) Al-Ghaba
06) Âda ya L-Khayl

Grab it all here.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

I Got A Fever, And The Only Prescription is More Scissors! - Âbidat Errma

Âbidat Errma - a traditional rural genre, found around the region of Khouribga. Similar in some respects to âita - some of its poetry is very old, often features a series of different lead singers over the course of a performance, singers also dance. Unlike âita, it is a male genre and traditionally features only percussion - bendir-s, ta'rija-s and, distinctively, a sawed-off pair of scissors beaten with a metal rod.

I gotta say, I love the scissors! What a great musical instrument - unlike some Moroccan metal percussion instruments (e.g., the naqqus or qarqaba), with the scissors (mqess) one can modulate the timbre by opening and closing the shears! Here's some old-school âbidat errma - check 4:45 forward for some good scissors action:

In the early years of the last decade, âbidat errma experienced a new popularity. I'm not sure how that happened - it may have been due to television exposure featuring some young performers. Here's a recent clip from Moroccan TV, featuring some of the entertaining, pantomime dancing that makes âbidat errma so well-loved.

Whatever the reason may have been, young groups of âbidat errma performers began to proliferate. Here's a tape from around 2004 out of Beni Mellal (on the label Ain Asserdoun Disque!) from a group called Noujoum Al-Asala Al-Âmriya:

Track 8 (of 8)
Get it all here.

As I complained in a previous post, despite the renewed popularity of âbidat errma, it seems that it has quickly been subsumed into another flavor of chaâbi by the incorporation of viola (and sometimes other full-band instruments like guitar and keyboard), at least in recordings.  It makes for a pretty fun flavor of chaâbi - you still get a lot of call-response vocal, a battery of bendir-s and ta'rija-s, and of course the iconic scissors. But I was sad last summer to find not a single cassette of âbidat errma without a viola there to chaâbi-fy the mix.

For good measure, here's a chaâbi-fied âbidat errma tape from the group Majmuât Essayada. I think I got this back in 2006.  It is indeed good fun, and features the perennial fave "Baghi Naâmmer Eddar". Still, I don't think it needs the viola to make it rock.

Majmuât Essayada - Nashat Errma (Edition Safi 0502)
01 Baghi Naâmmer Eddar - Essahra Bladna
02 Âlash Tsalou
03 L-Bnat Berhou
04 Hadi âla Loulid

05 Wah A Baba - Wahya Loulad - Snah Esserbat

Get it here.