Sunday, March 29, 2020

4 Hours from a Gnawa Lila in Essaouira - Said Boulhimas and Ahmed Baqbou

Here's a nice recording from a lila ceremony held at the Zawiya of Sidna Bilal in Essaouira featuring Maalem Ahmed Baqbou from Marrakech and Maalem Said Boulhimas from Essaouira. This was uploaded by YouTube user chahidessafa. There's so much Gnawa music available on YouTube, it's a bit overwhelming so I rarely dip into it. But I'm a sucker for lila tapes, especially when they feature great players like these. This is certainly not a studio quality recording, but it's not bad and has a decent balance between singing, guinbri, and qraqeb. And the great performance, ambiance, and live interaction more than compensate for any flaws in audio fidelity. I've put the videos into a playlist that follows the order of the performance:

The recording goes as far as the Musawi portion of the lila. It features the particular Essaouira version of Sidi Musa which is different from the version played in other Gnawa locales. (A lovely version of this piece is featured as the title track of Houssam Gania's album Mosawi Swiri, released earlier this year by Hive Mind Records - still available for download here.)

I've put together a few other playlists of YouTube audio from Gnawa lilas. If you're in the mood for more, check them out here and here and here.

Sorry for the long absence. I'll have a new old tape up for you to enjoy in the next day or so. Hope you're all doing OK out there. Strange times these are indeed. Looking forward to a time when we can again hear, play, and dance to music in rooms together.