Aaaah... a Moroccan wedding on a hot urban summer night about 30 years ago. The smell of mint tea and the amplified, saturated sounds of a big jawq/orchestra animating the crowd. After a bit of slow stately music (melhun or Andalus), the bride is paraded in, in all her glory, the ululations fly, the crowd rises, and the band launches into Lâaroussa Jat:
I picked up this cassette on my first trip to Morocco in 1992. It's your typical wedding chaâbi fare, but with an nice punch to it - the drum kit is propulsive, the electric guitar nice and twangy, and the bass and strings also pack a punch (unlike the smooth timbres that would become the norm a few years later). And Abdou el Filali's singing is appealing, energetic, and enthusiastic.
Filali was born and raised in Kenitra. His early musical career was spent with Ghiwane-style groups Layali el Ounss and L'Mghariyine. He later attended the conservatory in Kenitra, where he found his voice as a chaâbi singer. If the info I found online is correct , it was Filali who popularized the song Laâroussa Jat, via the version on this cassette. The song subsequently became a wedding standard - that's a notable achievement for any singer! [I'm pretty sure it was played at my wedding - I wonder whether it's still in the repertoire for weddings today.]
Another rhythmic track from the album caught my ear. "Oh, they're singing in French", I thought... "Wait, did he just say 'passé composé'? Are they... conjugating verbs to a chaâbi beat?" Yep - here's what I got:
Filali remains active today. You can find some recent videos at his YouTube channel. There are some old cassette covers and photos on his Facebook page. And Soundcloud has a rip of the song Lâaroussa from a tape of better quality than my copy. This version also contains the opening ululations and Slaaaaaa ou Slaaaaaaams that are cut off on mine.
Orchestre Abdou el Filali - اوركسترا عبدو الفياالي
K (Kennedy) Music cassette 12 - موسيقة كنيدي
1) Lâaroussa (لعروسة)
2) Hnia (هنية)
Mali ou Mali (مالي و مالي)
3) Moulat Wa7ed (مولات واحد)
4) Telephone (التلفون)
Al Wali Sidi Bennour (الوالي سيدي بنور)
Jaya Min Eddouar (جاية من الدوار)
5) Ma Kayn Khir (ما كين خير)