Thursday, December 24, 2015

Houssa Ahbar 97

Here's some late '90s Middle Atlas Amazigh viola-driven pop music. On the spectrum between the two Amazigh viola tapes I shared on this post last year, this falls closer to the earlier, folkier, acoustic end.

I couldn't find out much online about Houssa Ahbar (or Ahbbar, not to be confused with the prolific Houssa 46). This tape predates anything of his I found online. The j-card bills him as "The Star of Khenifra", implying that he comes from the same city as Rouicha.

Houssa appears to remain active via recordings and live performances. You can find some recent albums of his over at Interesting to compare the sound of these newer albums to the one offered here. Production values for Middle Atlas popular music have sure changed since the late '90s. No autotune, no keyboard, no lotar. Just the viola, bendir, men's and women's voices, and what sounds like a darbuka added to the percussion section.

Iconographic query: Here is the logo for the label Ain Asserdoun Disque. "Ain Asserdoun" is the name of the lovely spring up the mountain above Beni Mellal. The word "Asserdoun" means "mule" in Tamazight, and "Ain" means "spring" or, literally, "eye". So Ain Asserdoun could be translated as The Mule Spring or the Mule's Eye. So can anyone explain to me what is depicted in this logo?

Houssa Ahbar - New 97 (Ain Asserdoun Disque cassette 51)
Excerpt from Track 4 (of 6)

Get it all here.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks! That's some real energy, there. Fine playing, and frankly, the sound's pretty decent, too. Which many of those cheaply made cassettes simply don't have.