Saturday, January 25, 2014

More Riffi Riffs - Mimoun Ousaid

Our final Riffi tape post is an album by Mimoun Ousaid, who is based in Nador. He has been composing, performing, and recording since the early 1970's. Many photos and videoclips on the web feature him playing an oud, though I don't hear any oud on this cassette. (A large black bird is pictured in the top right corner of the j-card, and it looks  flying away with the oud... symbolic?) Many interviewees in this odd promotional documentary testify to the beauty and quality of his lyrics.

Texturally, this album features a palate of musical timbres that, to my ear, sounds closer to mainstream North African orchestrated popular music than the other Riffi tapes I posted. Synthesized sounds include strings, qanun (zither), and accordion.

Rhythmically, Track 1 is the only piece whose rhythm sounds like the standard Riffi rhythm heard on my other Riffi tapes. The other songs map to typical Maghrebi 2/4 and 6/8 structures, except for track 4, which has a Middle Eastern 2/4 feel.

Note that the cassette shell and j-card use Spanish instead of the French seen on most Moroccan cassettes - a legacy of the Spanish colonial presence in northern Morocco.

And once again,  cassette company logos!

Disco Melilla Présenta Mimon Osaid (2000)
1) Temsaman Jari Doura
2) Arahad Enhara w Tjar Tiwousha
3) Hjegh Timour

4) Asber Yahanjar
5) Men Zidham Zemaregh
6) Urzough Ghesâd Inou

Get it all here.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

More Riffi Beat - Najmat Errif

Here's some more Riffi song. I originally thought this tape, from Y2K, was an anonymous Riffi album - the title "Najmat Errif" could be translated as "the Star of the Rif". But now I wonder if, in fact, the singer's name is Najma.

The singer in this video clip may be the same artist. The extreme auto-tune makes it difficult to say. The woman pictured on the j-card above (who I always thought was another model) does bear some resemblance to the singer in the video:

Unlike the synth-pop of the video, the 8 songs of this tape use the simple, traditional instrumentation of bendir, gasba (flute), handclapping and vocals. Most of the tunes (including the excerpt below) use the same Riffi rhythm that dominated my last post. But there are a couple of tunes with different, intriguing rhythms featured here. Hope you enjoy!

Atlas Music Présente Najmat Errif
Excerpt of Track 3 (of 8)

Get it all here.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Riffi Pop - Milouda

Happy 2014 y'all! The computer has been repaired, so I'm happy to get back to the blog!

I have never visited the Rif region of Morocco, but I was able to pick up some Riffi tapes in Tangier. Tariffit is the northernmost of the 3 Amazigh (Berber) dialects spoken in Morocco. (We've got plenty of Tachelhit and Tamazight stuff in the stash.)

Riffi music has not been very well represented on the national musical scene in Morocco over the years. For as long as I've been visiting Morocco, Moroccan TV has regularly featured artists performing in Tachelhit and Tamazight, some of whom have become household names in Arab-speaking areas. (E.g., Fatima Tabaamrant, Fatima Tahihit, Hadda Aouaki, and crossover artists like Rouicha and Najat Aatabou.) However, I don't recall ever seeing Riffi artists on Moroccan TV. This omission is perhaps a legacy of the long contentious relations between the Rif and the monarchy.

The girl in the photo is not the singer Milouda. In other Milouda album covers I've seen online, a model is pictured rather than the singer. If my web searching is correct, the singer in my cassette may be the same Milouda featured in the clip below, draped in the Amazigh flag. (Though I must say, the voice on my cassette is at a much higher pitch range.)

Hope you like the Riffi beat - it continues non-stop through both sides of this cassette. I think it's great - prominent bendir gives it great buzzy propulsion! To my ear, it has a rhythmic shape similar to that heard in northeastern Moroccan Arab music (known as Âlaoui)...

and in northwestern Algerian Arab music (folk rai and pop rai).

And again, loving the cassette company logos, this time for Sawt Shahrazad "The Voice of Scheherazade":

Sawt Shahrazad Présente Al Fannana Milouda - Awrar n-Rif
01) Mouray - Thnayen Thifousiyen
02) Irhanni - Thloust Iniri (excerpt:)

Get it all here.