Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Mâalem Hmida Boussou - Precious Gnawa Recordings for Strange Days

Strange Days here in the USA. An erratic blowhard was recently elected president, and we are about to observe a holiday (Thanksgiving) that commemorates cooperation between early English colonists and American natives while corporate/government forces continue an assault on Native American Water Protectors (mainstream English: "protesters") and their allies at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation...

Well, at least there's some good news here at Moroccan Tape Stash - I lost track of this wonderful tape several years ago, and it just resurfaced, hidden away in a box of grad school notebooks. A rare commercial cassette from the great, great Gnawi mâallem Hmida Boussou. I picked it up in the early 90s in Marrakech.

Another cassette by Mâalem Hmida was featured on this blog a long time ago. Today's cassette shares a number of characteristics with it. The j-card lists the same 3 track titles and the imprint "Sawt Errbi3", though the featured photo is different. The cassette shell similarly reads "Edition el Kawakib".

But this is a different album. One track from today's tape (Track 2) does appear on the earlier tape. The present version is the same recording, but it runs somewhat slower than on the other cassette and fades out earlier. The overall sound quality is better on this one too. And the new tracks are fantastic.

I'm thankful that there are some recordings of these Gnawi masters who have left us. The tradition continues to thrive, but styles change, so these recordings are quite precious. It's worth seeking out copies of his recordings in the Al Sur 5-disc Gnawa Leila series.

Blessings, safety and companionship to you all!

Lagnawi Hamid Boussou - لگناوي حميد بوصو
Edition el Kawakib cassette

1) Bangara Bangara - Amara Momadi - Berrma Nana Soutanbi
2) Chalaba Titara - Fulani Hiriza
3) 3yalat - Soussiya

Get it all here.


  1. Thanks for sharing this rare tape, Tim! I never had the privilege to encounter a lila in person, only the light entertainment version in Essaouira and Marrakech. I was part of a private session done for tourists in Merzouga, but it was more like smoking grass and having a good time than calling the spirits.

    Cheers, Lucky

    1. Hi Lucky - great you got to hear some live Gnawa sounds, even if not in a ceremonial context. Glad to see the Psychic Hut is still up and running, if only occasionally :)

  2. Hmida with his inimitable voice is my fave gnaoui, so thanks a lot for that one! The Mâalem looks on the cover younger than on the other tape with No 2, aka "Sadie Fulani Hiriza" So this might (??) be older...


    BTW: They sell all Al Sur-CDs in Morocco under another label...

  3. Hi Tim just to let you know, I put the right link up, it's the one with the red cover, greetings, Henk Madrotter

    1. Hi Henk - I still don't see it here:
      The old link is gone, but there is no new one. Thanks for looking into it - those are nice 45s!


      Another mysterious tape :)