Loading...

Follow Moroccan Tape Stash on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

Here's a ready-for-summer album by Bouchenak (a.k.a. Les Frères Bouchenak), a longtime fixture on the Moroccan pop music scene, out of Oujda in the east.

I promise you, I resisted the urge to call this Yacht Rai. If you are a longtime visitor to Moroccan Tape Stash, you know that I don't easily suffer facile comparisons with Anglo-American pop genres and groups. (My manifesto is here, but I quickly violated it here.) And it's questionable whether Yacht Rock is even a true genre. (The term originated in a series of YouTube comedy shorts.) But the urge here was strong - colorful tropical shirts, feel-good unthreatening and smooth pop grooves, and era-appropriate facial hair screamed out "Yacht Rock" to me.

But yea, I resisted. No, I told myself, I am strong enough to not give in to the urge to make a silly, superficial comparison. I'm mature enough to say something objective and insightful about this album, to place the interesting Bouchenak band in its proper historical context - this 1992 album coming after a decade of albums which saw them experimenting with combining local forms from the Moroccan east (a musical/cultural terrain similar to Oran in the Algerian west) with a rock band format (electric guitar, keyboard and drums). Similar in some ways, but different in others, from what musicians in Oran and Sidi Bel Abbas were doing with rai music in Algeria around the same time. (Dig, for instance, this unusual 1984 album, still available over at the Snap, Crackle and Pop blog. See also the comments for a wealth of historical info about the Bouchenak Brothers from H. Hammer.)

Verily, I would resist the pull of the Yacht Rai moniker, even though my own personal introduction to them was seeing them onstage in Marrakech in the summer of 1992, where they followed a combined performance by Nass el Ghiwane and Jil Jilala (OMG!!) with the silliest, lightest pop ditties, lip-synched (!!!) in those same tropical shirts (!!!!!!!!), and wondering who in their right mind would put these guys onstage after the clearly deeper and more culturally significant NG and JJ!!!!!!!!!!! (But dammit, if that earworm "Aji Netsamhou" didn't dig its way into my psyche anyway!)

And though this album sort of annoys me (it is really lightweight and poppy, and features no electric guitar or drum set like their earlier work), on second listen, there are some interesting things to appreciate: the keyboard sounds and textures are varied from track to track (unlike some rai albums where keyboards sounds can be monotonous), and the harmony vocal arrangements are quite good. And "Yahdik Allah" actually rocks pretty hard.

I realy could have gotten through this entire post without invoking Yacht Rai. Then I stumbled across a video clip for"Jana Essaif", from this album.

THEY ARE LITERALLY ON A YACHT

Bouchnak - Jana Sif | الإخوان بوشناق - جانا الصيف - YouTube
 
Bouchenak الاخوان بوشناق
Edition Sonya Disque/INES cassette (1992)

1) Aji Natsamhou اجي نتسامحو
2) Jana Essaif جانا الصيف
3) Makablouhach ماقبلوهاش
4) Njoum Ellil نجوم الليل
5) Yahdik Allah يهديك الله
If you cannot see the audio controls, your browser does not support the audio element
6) Laghzal لغزال
7) Charou Lina شارو الين
8) Salam Alikoum السلام علي

Get it all HERE.
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Ramadan Mubarak - may your month be full of thankfulness and remembrance, and may you be uplifted and sustained.

In bygone times, the link between Ramadan and the sound of Arab Andalusian music (a.k.a. tarab andalusi, a.k.a. al-âla) was a strong one for Moroccans. RTM (Radiodiffusion-Télévision Marocaine) used to broadcast clips of this music right before and after the sundown call to prayer during the holy month. Back when there was only 1 or 2 TV stations, this meant that for years a huge portion of the Moroccan population would have been at home with this music on the tube as the soundtrack to the breaking of the daily fast around the family table.

I'm not sure whether that's still the case. Even if it is, with the spread of satellite TV, home internet and portable phones in the 21st century, folks are tuned in to many different things now, so it's unlikely that the Andalusian tones are as ubiquitous as they once were at iftar time.

At any rate, here's a nice tape that I dubbed in 1992. My dub is pictured above, but I believe the j-card looked something like this:

Mohamed Bajeddoub was at the time the most renowned singer of the Moroccan Andalusian tradition. (Within a few years, Abderrahim Souiri would rise to similar heights.) LIke Souiri, Bajeddoub rose to fame as a member of the ensemble of Haj Abdelkrim Rais. .

This tape contains a couple of the most famous and popular songs of the Moroccan Andalusian repertoire: "Shams al Âshi" and "Bouchra Lana". The version of "Shams al Âshi" is quite spirited, and segues into some energetic, festive chaâbi.

WELCOME L'AGE D'OR de la musique andalouse with the singer BAJADOUB
1) Shams al Âshi
2) Mawwal 1
3) Mawwal 2
4) Bouchra Lana
If you cannot see the audio controls, your browser does not support the audio element
5) Mawwal 3

Get it all here.

More Bajeddoub available here:
https://www.ournia.co/artist/al-haj-mohammed-ba-jeddoub
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Houssam Gania is the son of the late Gnawi mâalem Mahmoud Guinia, and a fine guinbri player in his own right. Like his father, his playing isn't flashy, but is deeply in the pocket.

Hive Mind Records in the UK released this new album by Houssam on cassette (!!!!!) a couple of months back. The j-card design is a lovely homage to the Tichkaphone cassettes of his father. The album contains a great version of the Essaouira version of "Sidi Musa" - a different flavor than you hear in Marrakech, Casablanca, or elsewhere.



As of today there are only 10 copies of the cassette left at Bandcamp. You will still be able to download digitally thereafter, but why not get a copy for your own tape stash!!

Huge props to Marc over at Hive Mind for this release, as well as for the vinyl releases of Mahmoud Guinia and Moulay Ahmed el Hassani over the last couple of years.

Order you copy HERE!
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Here's a nice album from the late 1990s of Moroccan music from the Arab Andalusian tradition (a.k.a. tarab andalusi, a.k.a. al-âla). This repertoire is understood to trace back in some form to the legendary 9th century musician Ziryab at the court of Cordoba. The tradition flourished in Cordoba, Sevilla, Granada, and Valencia, and was carried on in North African cities during and after the Reconquista.

The singer Abderrahim Souiri is one of the most renowned Moroccan singers currently working in this tradition. His buoyant presence and soaring voice have made him a national musical icon. He is featured often on Moroccan television (including commercials/adverts) and at festivals, performing not only the classical Andalusian repertoire, but also melhun, chaâbi, and amdah repertoires. The j-card lists the orchestra as that of maestro Mohamed Briouel, so this may be the famed Orchestre arabo-andalou de Fes. Both Souiri and Briouel worked under the late maestro Haj Abdelkrim Rais of Fes.

It's nice to hear Arab Andalusian music in a live performance setting, with audible audience reactions. Some of us non-Moroccans first encountered this music via studio recordings released by OCORA or Maison du cultures du monde / INEDIT. Those recordings, while historic and beautiful, didn't give a sense of the excitement this music can generate with an audience of aficionados. This concert recording gives a glimpse of the live tradition in performance.

Ournia has a bunch of Souiri's recordings streaming here. And Mohamed Briouel can be heard on many of the recordings in the CD series Anthologie Al-Âla, musique andaluci-marocaine

As is often the case with Arab Andalusian recordings, the songs on this album are identified by their melodic mode, and rhythmic cycle.

Andalusian Concert with the Artist Abderrahim Souiri (Volume 1)
سهرة اندلسية مع الفنان عبد الرحيم الصويري (الجزء الاول)
SACAV (ساكاڤ) cassette S104

1) Tawashi Al Istihlal تواشي الاستهلال
2) Insiraf Btaihi Rasd Eddil انصراف ابطايحي رصد الديل
If you cannot see the audio controls, your browser does not support the audio element
3) Mawwal موال
4) Quddam Al Hijaz Al Kabir قدام الحجاز الكبير
5) Mawwal موال

Get it all HERE.
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Moroccan Tape Stash by Tim Abdellah - 4M ago

Here's a nice album in the chanson moderne style by singer Ghita ben Abdeslam. Born into an artistic family, Ghita is the niece of sibling singers Mohammed al-Idrissi and the celebrated Bahija Idris, and daughter of composer Mohammed ben Abdeslam, who composed the songs on this album.

According to the discussion on sama3y.net, the songs "Fellah" and "Allah Âliha Ziara" originally featured lyrics in Moroccan dialect, but were rewritten and recorded here in a more Egyptian dialect. I don't always enjoy west/east Arabic crossovers, but these are pretty nice. She even delivers a nice layali vocal improvisation over the Moroccan beat in this live version of "Allah Âliha Ziara":

غيثة بن عبد السلام - الله عليها زيارة - YouTube


Ghita composed lyrics to her own songs later in her career, some in Moroccan, and some in straight-up Egyptian. She retired from performing at a young age (1999 according to her Wikipedia entry), but reportedly promised that she would return one day.

Thanks to Marc of Hive Mind Records for hooking me up with this tape. Moroccan music fans should definitely be keeping an eye on what's new at Hive Mind - a great source for Moroccan music recordings over the last couple of years. More to come on that front very soon!!

Ghita Ben Abdeslam - غيثة بن عبد السلام
Edition Hassania Cassette EH 1169
1) Âziz Âlina عزيز علينا
2) Allah Âliha Ziara الله عليها زيارة
3) Fellah فلاح
If you cannot see the audio controls, your browser does not support the audio element
4) Âam Fel Ghorba عام في الغربة

Get it all HERE.
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Here's another Najat Aâtabou album that I don't see anywhere else online. It's from 2001, the followup to "Attention A Monsieur", which I posted a few months back. It has a mainstream-chaâbi feel similar to that album, except that the viola and oud (?) are replaced by what sounds like a steel-stringed plucked instrument - can't tell if it's a bouzouk or possibly a guitar.

At any rate, as with the previous album, the keyboard bass gives the album an overall "programmed" sound. The percussion is prominent in the mix, and the textures vary nicely from song to song and verse to verse. As is typical for much 21st century Moroccan chaâbi, the production is a little too perfect for my ear. Still, Najat's singing is as powerful as ever, and it's hard to argue with the kicking, 13 minute medley that closes the album.

Najat Aâtabou: Ana Sehrouni - Ya Lousti Khlini Menni L Rajli - Moutou Lli Dwaw Fiya - YouTube


Apologies to those to whom I owe an email, shout out, or other overdue salaam! Wishing everyone a good and groovy New Year!

Najat Aâtabou - نجاة اعتابو
Ândak Tkoun Boudina - عنداك اتكون بودينةEdition Sonya Disque cassette T.C. 1953 (2001)

1) Ândak Tkoun Boudina عنداك اتكون بودينة
2) Haouli 3a Lkbida حاولي عا لكبيدة
3) Stop Haddek Temma حدك تما STOP
4) Malek Timid A Loulid مالك تيميد ا لوليد
5) Ana Sehrouni انا سحروني
    Ya Lousti Khlini Menni L-Rajli يا لوستي خليني مني لراجلي
    Moutou Lli Dwaw Fiya موتو يا اللي داواو في

Get it all HERE.
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

US voters elected over 100 women to Congress in this week's midterm election. May they be as fierce as these awesome âouiniyat ladies out of Marrakech!

Âouniyat Ladies of Safi Disque
Safi Disque cassette
circa 2001

1) Wa Lalla Fatima / Aw ya L-Hajj
2) Ândi bniya wahda / Âjebtini a bniti
If you cannot see the audio controls, your browser does not support the audio element
3) Rani halfa / Ha hiya jatek ya loulid
4) Feen jellaba elli bghit ana / Wa kanet jaya jaya malha wellat / Âjbatu w bghaha
5) Ghadi âref a ya siri fouti  / Had rajel ârfali fâylu / Ha w feen saken

Get it HERE.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Salaams, good people! Sorry for the long dry spell. All's fine here at Moroccan Tape Stash, despite the generally befuddling times.

If you’ve visited Moroccan Tape Stash before, you know that your humble curator loves chaâbi tapes from the days of drum kits and electric guitars. How about we add some saxophone to that mix! Here’s a vintage gem from the stash - an early tape by Khalid Bennani, picked up on my first trip to Morocco in 1992.

According to his biography at Ournia, Bennani performs primarily for “private parties such as weddings and engagement ceremonies”. I have the greatest respect for a good wedding band - being able to satisfy folks old and young, from near and far, is not always easy. And if we’re talking about Moroccan weddings, that means having a fresh, diverse, and extensive repertoire that will give rhythm to a party for hours, often deep, deep into the night.

In addition to wedding work, Bennani continues to record prolifically and to give concerts outside of Morocco. (Apparently he performed some dates in Texas earlier this year!)


Bennani is based in Casablanca but is a native of Taza (between Fes and Oujda) and plays a Fessi repertoire, including melodies reminiscent of the Arab Andalusian and melhun repertoire, devotional strains from the Aïssaoua brotherhood, and tunes evoking the Jbala region of northwestern Morocco.

Fessi chaâbi is usually too smooth for my tastes. I prefer things more raucous, à la Casablanca or Marrakech style. This album, though, manages to achieve a texture that is somehow both smooth and raucous! Maybe it's those snare drum punctuations from the drum set along with the syncopated electric rhythm guitar, a darbuka prominent in the mix.

Khalid Bennani: Yom l-Miâd - A Latif - YouTube

Enjoy!


Khalid Bennani خالد بناني
Oscariphone (اسكارفون) cassette 11
ca 1992
1) Lhwa Bia - Ma Ândi Zhar  لهوى بيا - معندي زهر
2) Yom l-Miâd - A Latif  يوم الميعاد - ألطيف
3) Ana f-Ârek - Daba Tendem Âliya   انا فعارك ‪-‬ دابا تندم عليا
4) Goulou l-Hbibi  قولو لحبيبي

Get it all HERE.
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Here's an upgrade of my all-time favorite Gnawa tape! This is a great recording of Marrakech's Mustapha Baqbou, solo with a guinbi, singing and masterfully strumming a few songs, mainly from the Black repertoire (the Ouled al-Ghaba). Without qarqaba-s and choral responses, this is an intimate session where the guinbri is on display. And nobody rivals the virtuosic touch and subtlety that Mâllem Baqbou brings to the instrument. I estimate a late 80s or early 90s date to the recording.

Double big thanks to Mr. Tear: first for the original upload at the Snap, Crackle & Pop blog, and then for finding another copy of it and sending it to me! The sound is a little better on this copy than on his. However, it's about 8 minutes shorter - so I digitized this one and patched the remaining minutes from the other copy. I think it's an upgrade to the earlier upload, though that one is still available here if you want it.

Disco-Graphic notes: I used to have a copy of this years ago - the photo of Mâllem Baqbou was the same, but the background was different. I think my copy was on the widely-distributed Fassiphone label (out of Fez), as was Mr. Tear's copy. The j-card of this one, however, indicates that it was issued by the Marrakech label Sawt el-Haouz. My guess would be that it was originally recorded for the Marrakech label, then licensed to Fassiphone. But I could be wrong. Also, the cassette shell for this copy gives yet another production house: Disco Phone, way over in Oujda.

Also, the identities of Side A and Side B are not clear. Mr. Tear's copy (and I believe my old lost copy) began with Kubaily Mama/Mamaryo. However the j-card and this copy have Balini/Allah ya Rebbi ya Moulay as the first track. The latter order makes more sense from the running order of these songs during the lila. But I really got used to having Kubaily Mama at the beginning of the album, so I'm leading with that here. You are welcome to retag if you like :)

Sawt el Haouz presents صوت الحوز يقدم
Mustapha Baqbou مصطفى باقبو
Sawt el Haouz cassette S.H.57
(cassette shell reads Disco Phone)

1‫(‬ Kubaily Mama - Mamaryo ممريا
If you cannot see the audio controls, your browser does not support the audio element
2‫(‬ Fulani فولان
3‫(‬ Balini - Allah ya Rebbi ya Moulay الله يا ربي يا مولاي
4‫(‬ Bouchama - Mekkawi بوشامة

Get it all HERE.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Moroccan Tape Stash by Tim Abdellah - 1y ago

After the success of Nouveau 92, Najat Aâtabou did not return to the oud and bendir format of her earlier hits. Rather, she adopted various other instrumental combinations, moving eventually toward a more mainstream chaâbi sound.

I own copies of some of these cassettes (without j-cards), and have lost a few along the way. Also, some of these are available to stream or purchase online. So I'll mainly post here links to existing web resources and try to piece together her discography between Nouveau 92 and Attention Monsieur (2000).

Souaret (1993)

This album came out as a cassette on Edition Hassania in 1993. My copy went missing long ago, but I believe the j-card may have had this photo, which accompanies Amazon's version:

The production sounds similar to that of Nouveau 92, using the same funky synth bass on many tracks. I remember at the time being a bit disappointed with the album, feeling it was less hard-hitting than Nouveau 92, and contained no super-catchy single. Listening to it again now, though, it sounds like a breath of fresh air! It augments the unusual synth and viola texture of Nouveau 92 and fills it out with a more organic early-90s chaâbi orchestra: live strings, bendirs, full drum kit, and an occasional electric guitar. It's a more organic, orchestral overall sound. (Admittedly, I'm a sucker for the chaâbi sound of that era.)

And Najat's singing is spectacular. Those folks over at Edition Hassania really knew how to record her - whether accompanied by a simple oud-and-bendir ensemble or a full orchestra, her voice remains powerful and startling.

Here's a YouTube playlist of the entire album:



The mp3 album is available to purchase and download (or stream) at Amazon for a reasonable $3.99!: https://www.amazon.com/Souaret-Najat-Aatabou/dp/B00ERIW0MW/

Taqi Fia Allah (1995)

This is, I believe, the last album that Najat released on Edition Hassania. I used to have a copy of the cassette. Like the previous albums, this one is also driven by the viola. But the style is different here. Rather than a chanson moderne style of viola playing, hearkening to the smooth sounds of the modern Arab orchestra, here we have a straight-up dance-inducing chaâbi fiddle! The overall ensemble is more simple - bendirs, some oud and melodic keyboard here and there, and what sounds like a drum machine (hi-hat and some fills). Though a return to oud and bendir-s is nice, the chaâbi viola really dominates the mix and doesn't quite work for me. That being said, the tune "Baadou Lhih" is awesome and became part of her live repertoire.

The album's 6 tracks were remastered and released in the US as part of the Rounder compilation CD "Country Girls and City Women", which is out of print. It's worth finding a used copy of the CD - the booklet includes a nice essay, translations of all the song lyrics into English, and an interview with Najat. I can't find any streaming or download options for the album. Here's a YouTube playlist of the album's songs:



Sabara (1996)

I had a dub of this album, and I remember it being on label called something like "Safa Disque". (It wasn't the well-established Sonia Disque, with whom she would later record.) The leadoff track "Aatani Bedhar", also known as "Mali Ana Ma 3andi Zhar" was a smash hit - smooth chaâbi groups were covering it, and with its singalong chorus of "Wa-a-a-a-ayli", it was an instant classic, and one of Najat's biggest ever hits. I love it!

It was around this time that studio-produced chaabi in Morocco started to sound a bit too perfect and precise for my ears. Though rhythms were still driving and percussive, drum sets had given way to drum machines and programming, which could feel mechanical. Electric guitars for rhyhmic and chordal accompaniment were rarely found anymore, replaced by more versatile synthesizers, which could also add a variety of melodic textures. Even oud-s and violas began to sound more processed and perfect. I tend to like my chaâbi (and most music) a little on the sloppy side - I appreciate being able to hear the human interactions and imperfections.

That said, when all the elements come together in a studio production, it can be great, and that's the case throughout this album. The oud remains prominent in the mix, the real or synth strings (I can't always tell which) support without being overbearing, the rhythm section pops and crackles, the synth bass keeps things funky and in the pocket, and Najat and the backup choir sound great! A mega-post on the ARAB TUNES blog has this album, and many others by Najat!

Also, here'a YouTube playlist of the whole album:



Souvenir (1998)

According to this interview, Souvenir, like its predecessor Sabara, was produced by Najat's former husband Hassan Dikouk. It has a similar overall sound to Sabara, and Najat seems to have comfortably settled into a mainstream chaâbi setting. To my ears the sound is a little less punchy - a bit more emphasis on the viola and less on the oud, and the vocals seem more subdued. But when it works, like in "El Aati Houwa Allah" and "Daba Ytem El Nachat", it still kicks.

ARAB TUNES has this one as well, and here's the whole album on YouTube:



Et Oui Mon Ami, Parle Je T'écoute (1999)

My cassette copy of this (get it HERE) contains a track not available on streaming platforms - a spoken message from Najat to her public, presenting her new cassette, on which, she says, she has tried as always to move chaabi song forward, and that the most important measure of its success is "your entertainment, clapping, and pleasure".

I don't know what prompted the inclusion of this rather apologetic message. Perhaps her moves into mainstream chaabi were criticized by some sectors of the public. Or perhaps she was nervous about the leadoff track, which has a distinct Latin feel and a light programmed percussion track, straying further away from her roots than usual. (This was the era of Amr Diab's smash Egyptian hit "Habibi ya Nour el Ain". Unlike that track, though, Najat's does not include the soon-to-be-ubiquitous-in-Arabic-pop flamenco guitar.) On streaming versions of the album (like the YouTube playlist embedded below, or Amazon's version), there is a bonus track - a chill lounge remix of the title song, with light funk electric guitar and Middle Eastern strings replacing the punchy synth horns of the original.



Outside of the title track (which was not a big hit), the rest of the album features a pretty standard chaâbi texture, though a bit more sparse than the previous two albums. I couldn't quite put my ear on what was different at first. I heard a viola and a synth banjo, some restrained programmed rhythm with a live darbuka. There is a funky synth bass again, though it's very low in the mix as compared to the previous albums. The really key difference here, though is that there is NO BENDIR! Throughout all of her albums, whether based around the oud, the viola, or a full orchestra, the one constant is the presence of the buzzy bendir! On this one, though, the only buzzy timbre you can hear is the occasional taarija. The low percussive tones, are not buzzy booms, but clean synth bass drums. Which is a weird idea, but it sort of works for me.

The viola-centered sound of this album hearkens to 1995's Taqi Fia Allah, but with punchier rhythm and overall sound. Again, the chaabi viola isn't my favorite instrument to hear with Najat Aâtabou's voice, but this ain't bad.

---

I saw Najat Aâtabou do a concert in Casablanca in 1999, and the only songs she did from any of these 5 albums were "Mali Ana Ma 3andi Zhar", from Sabara and "Baadou Lhih" from Taqi Fia Allah. But although these albums may not be packed with hits, there's worthwhile material on all of them. My ear for Moroccan lyrics isn't developed enough to critically assess Najat's 1990s songs in comparison to the earlier hits that brought her to fame. A lot of the same themes seem to pop up - complaints about romantic relationships, trying to keep things cool with mom, patience, acceptance, and calling out hypocrites. Her turn toward a mainstream chaâbi sound strikes me as a way for her songs of support and solidarity to resonate with a broader community of Moroccan sisters. At any rate that's my interpretation for now. Am happy to hear other opinions.

Wishing a blessed Ramadan to you all. Thank you for continuing to visit, even though I seem to only post about Najat Aâtabou these days! I promise I'll get some other stuff cued up soon...
Read Full Article

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview