Saturday, October 9, 2021

Jamal Eddine Said Elhouate

Here's a tape by a young Jamal Eddine Said Elhouate, known commonly these days as Said Ould El Houate. The singer and viola player was born in 1968 in Casablanca. His real name is Jamal Eddine Said, and he was nicknamed ould el houate (son of the fishmonger) because his father worked at the port [1]. He rose to fame in the 2000s and 2010s with a chaabi style rooted in aita.

This album dates from the mid 1990s, and it benefits from the simple production values of the time. This is the simple and satisfying combination of a scratchy viola, a couple of tightly strung bendirs, Said's lead vocal, and some shikhate singing response vocals. Most recordings you find of Said Ould El Houate date from the 2000s and later, when it becomes hard to find chaabi recordings without a keyboard bass. This older style is refreshing, sort of in the vein of Abdelaziz Stati. Like Stati, Said appears to be an aficionado of aita. He has spent time in Safi learning and reviving old songs from the Abda variety of aita [1].

I was surprised to see the song title "Koubaily Baba" on this cassette. The name is reminiscent of Gnawa songs "Koubaily Bala" and "Koubaily Mama". Said's song does not sound like either of those songs, but the lyrics explicitly reference possession, Gnawa and Baba Mimoun. The music evokes Jilala trance music, with the bendirs playing a very syncopated pattern where drum strokes rarely coincide with the beat. So this track is a chaâbi evocation of a Jilala approach to Gnawa spirits.

Said Ould El Houate remains active and popular today. You can stream many of his albums at Ournia and a few on Spotify. And you can find lots of content on his Youtube channel.

Jamal Eddine Said Elhouate جمال الدين سعيد الحوات   
Sawt Ennachat cassette صوط النشاط   

mid 1990s

1) Essamra Qilini - السمرة قيليني
2) Mal Ezzine Tghayer - مال الزين اتغير
3) Ma Bin Lila ou Nhar Lhubb Tghayer - ما بين ليلة و  نهار الحب اتغير
4) Daq Alhal - داق الحال
     Koubaili Baba - كبيلي بابا
5) Moulay Abdellah Ben Lhoucine - مولاي عبد الله بن لحسين

320 | FLAC

[1] Interview with Said Ould El Houate at Doukali Bouhali blog.


  1. Whoa! How excited am I right now?!?

  2. يا ريت البوم نجاة اعتابو بنات الحومة ،مشكورين

  3. ارجوك المزيد من الشعبي ديال جمال الدين سعيد الحوات

  4. لا تغيب عليا كثيرآ من نشر كاسيط الشعبي النادر