Sunday, April 6, 2014

Most Gnawa-influenced Jil Jilala Tape

This is a gorgeous album by Jil Jilala, dating, I believe, from the mid 1980s.

Jil Jilala have featured a guinbri player at various times in their history. Paco Abderrahmane and Moulay Abdelaziz Tahiri were group members in the early days of the 1970s, and Mustapha Baqbou has been a member at various times since the 1980s. Despite this fact, Jil Jilala have, to my ear, have rarely drawn overt inspiration from Gnawa melodies, songs, riffs or rhythms. This is quite different from the approach of Nass el Ghiwane in their Paco years, when they drew liberally from the Gnawa repertoire.

This album seems to the be exception. I call it their most Gnawa-influenced tape, though even here the influence is mostly subtle. The title track, "Hada Wa'dek Ya Meskine" opens with some solo guinbri riffing. The song's title translates as something like "That's your lot, poor guy", and refers to the Gnawa song "Hada Wa'do Meskine" (That's his lot, poor guy), versions of which we've featured here and here. And when the rhythm shifts at 8:18, the melody also echoes that of the Gnawa original. "Ya Men Narjak" features Gnawa-styled guinbri riffing and rhythm. And the tracks on side 2 feature guinbri lines more Gnawa-ish than on other Jil Jilala albums featuring Mustapha (such as this and this at, and this at Awesome Tapes.

For some great vintage Jil Jilala, check out the posts at Snap, Crackle & Pop. And for some detailed history of the group, check Hammer's megapost at The Audiotopia.

Actually, I just found another Jil Jilala album at Yala, which does feature some very Gnawa moments.

Mastering note: I grafted the first couple measures of "Sfina", which were missing from my tape, from Yala's version.

Jil Jilala - Hada Wa'dek Ya Meskin (Disques Gam GB.85.86)
01 Hada Wa'dek Ya Meskin

02 Ya Men Narjak
03 Sfina
04 Koun m3a Allah

Get it all here.