Two more lovely tapes today from Groupe Iâachaken. Like their first album, Iâachaken's second and third albums feature the participation of Nass el Ghiwane's Omar Sayed. I wish I could decode the image of the donkey cart on the 2 accompanying j-cards. On 1993's Magarn Ifassen, Omar Sayed is pulling the entire group, who sits on the cart. On 1994's Mani Nhra, the roles are reversed, and Groupe Iâachaken is pulling him, though apparently Omar achieves this turnaround by dangling a television in front of them. Make of it what you will...
These albums were released on Edition Sonya Disque, a label out of Casablanca whose tapes I first saw in 1993 and who released a lot of music in the '90s and beyond. Nass el Ghiwane released albums on the label and Paco released solo albums on it. Najat Aatabou put out some albums with the label as well.
Magarn Ifassen features qarqaba on several tracks, ramping up the group's generally laid-back feel a bit. The last tune on Mani Nhra, unlike anything else by the group, features ambient keyboard accompanying Omar Sayed's opening mawwal . It's a strange combination - the folk-revival acoustic instruments with the modern sheen of a synthesizer, but it works nicely here. (Much better than it does on a bizarre Nass el-Ghiwane tape I have...). And Omar's mawwal is an interesting one - the vocal ornamentations sound Indian in places. Quite lovely.
By the way, it's nice to hear Omar singing and reciting in Tachelhit. Nass el Ghiwane had never recorded a song in Berber. News stories last summer indicated that a new album would soon be released, featuring their first-ever song in Berber. However, I've seen no further information about the album. Has anybody heard any news about the album's delay?
From the j-card of Magarn Ifassen:
Lyrics: Lamghari Hamid
Music: Farouq Saîd
Arrangement: Omar Sayed
Groupe Iâachaken - Magarn Ifassen (Edition Sonya Disque 325)
01) Magarn Ifassen (ft. Omar Sayed)
02) Gar Amoudi
Get it here.
Groupe Iâachaken - Mani Nhra (E.S.D. 490)
01) Mani Nhra (ft. Omar Sayed)
02) Our Nsendem Yan
04) Illi Hna (ft. Omar Sayed)