Friday, December 24, 2021

Hamid Almou المو حميد - The Golden Plectrum of Meknes

Hamid Almou - Lachkar 4

A pair of albums this week, from lotar player and singer Hamid Almou. Like Rouicha, Almou has a groovy touch on the lotar, has a smooth, low baritone voice, and has had success recording in both Arabic (darija) and Tamazight. There's not much information about him online, but I gather from YouTube comments that he hails from Meknes, specifically the Toulal neighborhood. 

These two albums feature Almou singing in Arabic. I dubbed them from original copies in 1992 or 1993 in Marrakech. The song "Tfah Jnane Bghitou" that opens the first of these albums is somewhat well known. Several other recorded versions of it can be found online, including one by famed âita singer Khadija al Bidaouia ( I don't know whether Almou is the originator of the song or whether the song existed before he recorded it. It works remarkably well as both a viola-driven âita-styled chaâbi song and as a lotar-driven Zayane-styled chaâbi song.


Digital research note: As with any Arabic or Amazigh name, there are many different ways of transcribing المو حميد with Roman letters. A Google search for the name returned results that included Hamid Almou, Hamid Al Mou, Hamid El Mou, and Hamid Alemmou. it also returned this image:

Iconographic note: Since I didn't have images of the original j-cards, i went fishing on the internet to find something appropriate. I did find an entry on Discogs for an album by Almou, also on the imprint Enregistrement Lachkar, though it's not the same album as either of my dubs. The album refers to Almou as الريشة الذهبية "The Golden Plectrum" (richa being the Arabic word for both 'feather' and 'plectrum'). Anyway, I pilfered the image of the j-card and tweaked the colors to create mock j-cards for these 2 albums, shamelessly adding Moroccan Tape Stash branding in English and Arabic. Thanks and apologies to the original uploader Hackente.

More fun facts from Discogs: The Spanish rock band Les Conches Velasques adapted a song of Almou's in their song "Cosas de usar", the opening track on their 2021 album Celebración del trance profano (which also includes a version of Nass el Ghiwane's "Mahmouma").

Hamid Almou does not appear to have a web presence on either Facebook or YouTube. As far as I can tell, he is still active and performing. He sounds good in this live clip from 2014:

More Hamid Almou at Awesome Tapes From Africa and at Fazaz Arts YouTube channel.

Hamid Almou المو حميد
Enregistrement Lachkar 4

A1 Tfah Jnane Bghitou
A2 Ya Lli Nasini
B1 Mal Hbibi Malou Ma Jache
B2 Chawerni Alfraq Chawerni

320 | FLAC

Hamid Almou المو حميد
Enregistrement Lachkar 14

A1 Âchiri Lli Wellfou Guelbi Ya Hasra
A2 Min Zinek Ya Lil Ch'hal Dlamek Khwaf
B1 Had Denb A L-Hbiba Machi Denbi
B2 Tir Tir Bnit Lu Chebbak Hrir
B3 Galt Lbniya L-Baha Lach T'hdini

320 | FLAC

1 comment:

  1. First af all...Happy and Healthy New Year Tim for You and for your Family...Also a million thanks for your shares and for your valuable knowledge/info that you share with use.
    I found Great the Hamid Almou (voice, playing etc) and not so Great the Mokhtar & Zaida was a "typical" gnawa music album for me VS these diamonds : Essaouira Festival Gnaoua (2004) + jil jilala - hada wa'dek ya meskin + Mustafa Baqbou - Solo performance guembri (Fassiphone)