Tuesday, August 5, 2014

L'Hajja L'Hamdaouya and her Âita Big Band

Here's another vintage album from âita pioneer L'Hajja L'Hamdaouya. These are some classic âita marsawiya and chaâbi tunes here, the sort you would hear typically with a small ensemble (oud, viola, derbuka, bendir) such as that of Bouchaib el Bidaoui. Hamdaouya performs them here with a larger ensemble including several violas, flute, and tar (tambourine). Interesting to hear the âita-style viola riffing with multiple violas, and the nice looooooose heterophony and prominent tambourine give these recordings an almost Arab-Andalusian âla vibe in places. And on top of that, it also manages to rock!

Some of these songs can be heard by other performers elsewhere in the Stash. "Ma Cheftou Leghzal" appears by Bouchaib el Bidaoui here. And "Elghaba" appears (in a version about 7 times faster) by Hamid Zahir and Alfarqat Almarrakchiya here. Enjoy!

L'Hajja L'Hamdaouya - TCK647
01 Errabta 1

02 Errabta 2
03 Essa'diya
04 Elghaba
05 Ma Cheftou Leghzal

Get it all here.


  1. Hi Tim,
    Thanks for all of the great cassettes. I am a lover of Moroccan music who has been following your blog for the last several years. Thanks especially for another Hamdawiya cassette. I saw her perform a year ago during Ramadan in a restaurant in Skhirat. She only performed for a half hour but she threw it down. She is one of my favorites.
    best and keep it up. Thanks matthew

  2. Thanks for this, Tim. Come visit New York, already!

  3. @Matthew - how great you got to see her perform! I've never had the chance. Have seen her on TV recently, and she does still rock it!

    @Gary - it's been way too long! Maybe next year, incha'Llah!

  4. i am enjoying all of your posts, as always... thought you might like this clip of a cool drum & shawm trance ritual using rhythms in 5!!

  5. sorry, i've got another question, i hope you don't mind. lyrichord has a release called "songs and rhythms of morocco" and one of the tracks is called


    ...the notes say that the 2 gentlemen giving this public performance are extolling the virtues of hashish, attempting to convert the unbelieving, and furthermore that their sect's overall religious vision is highly correlated with this ancient substance... This was probably 20 years ago when I found the tape at some used-music store near Potrero Hill, and I subsequently did a bit of research on the Heddaoua but without much luck...

    So I am writing to ask if you could shed any light on this particular group and their very compelling music, or if there are any other directions in which you could point me, regarding the influence of THC on certain Moroccan genres or organizations?

    sincere thanks from a scholar and friend.

    1. hello.. if you do research on this sect or on any other subject to do with morocco, you must be prepared to spell the words many different ways: for example heddaoua, haddaoua, hedaua, heddawa, haddawa, heddaua. you will find that René Brunel wrote a book entitled "le monachisme errant dans l'islam" about the 7dawa, it was published in 1955. if you go to sidi heddi's tomb (near moulay abdeslam) be sure to ask about the sacred fish (René Brunel doesn't mention them).

  6. Hajja Hamdaouia has some timeless tunes that I have always referred to as "Moroccan Blues" as I see no other way to labeling these nice riffs and rhythms. There is a Youtube video that would make this absolutely obvious to anyone with a little bit of training in music. It's the famous recording in the 70s I think of "Mnine Ana Ou Mnine Neta..".
    Hajja Hamdaouia has always been an outstanding performer and an amazing voice and music genius. She has never set foot in a music class or knows anything about notes and scales and stuff like that. What she has to a huge degree is raw talent and a great voice.
    I personally think that if her circumstances were a little bit different, she would have had a huge amount of success outside of Morocco. It is an absolute delight to see her still rocking in her late 70s. A great lady of traditional Moroccan music.

  7. I forgot to mention that she was a big "friend" of an uncle of mine in Oued Zem. He was the owner of a local insurance agency and being a relatively wealthy man he was able to pay her to perform in special occasion in his house on the outskirts of Oued Zem. I personally attended a couple of these ceremonies and had some fond memories of her performances. I even got to sit down and chat with her for quite a while when it was dinner time. She is a great performer and a very nice lady.