Saturday, October 8, 2016

Moulay Ahmed el Hassani - Accept No Substitute, Unless He Too Rocks

Here's some more of that Moulay Ahmed Elhassani for ya. Track 4 of this album was featured on the Moroccan Tape Stash episode of Bodega Pop Live a couple weeks back. If you didn't get a chance to listen then, you can still hear the program in the archives here. We had a rollicking good time, spinning 3 hours of choice cuts from this blog and beyond. Many thanks to Gary for coming up with the idea and making it happen!

The j-card of this tape reads "Variétés Amazighia" suggesting that it contains a collection of songs sung in Berber. However, on the left side you can see a black stamp that reads "Zman Tghayer", which is the opening track of the album. The songs are all sung in Arabic, driven by more of that slow-jammy flanged-out slinky guitar you know and love.

There is a long paragraph of text on the front of the j-card, enjoining the public to purchase the artist's official tapes only in stores and on the imprint "Sawt El Hassani". I'm guessing there was some specific issue with tape piracy that prompted this message. One hopes that his albums sold on Amazon are properly licensed.

Or, I wonder if there was some issue with this guy:

This cassette is attributed to a Moulay El Hassani, who happens to play the same sort of modified guitar as Moulay Ahmed El Hassani, and in the same style. Is this a shameless attempt at cashing in on the success of an older, established artist by adopting a name so similar that it's basically designed to confuse the consumer? The term "Moulay" is an honorific, translating roughly as "My Lord". So to me, this looks a bit questionable - as if some Hofner-bass playing musician not named "Sir Paul McCartney" decided to release an album of Beatlesque pop as "Sir McCartney". Then again, Moulay could actually be his name, so this could be totally legit.

Well, the proof is in the pudding, right? And this is a pretty groovy tape in its own right. Yes, Moulay's tracks have the same sort of flangey guitar, programmed Middle Atlas rhythms, and male-female antiphonal vocals as found on Moulay Ahmed's recordings. But Moulay's riffing has its own feel, it seems like he stretches out a little more in his instrumental breaks than does his namesake.

Enjoy both!

Moulay Ahmed el Hassani (مولاي احمد الحسني) - Al-zaman Tghayer (الزمان تغير)
Sawt el Hassani (صوت الحسني) cassette, 2010
01 Zman Tghayer
02 Hamli Tqal
03 Ya Li Hjarni
04 3ayb 3lik Ya Labniya

05 Naker Walidik
06 Lokan Fik Lkhir
Get it all here.
There's loads more of his earlier Fassiphone albums online at Ournia.

Moulay El Hassani - مولاي الحسني
Afrah Fes Mondial (افراح فاس مونديال) cassette AF-07
1) Dessrouk a benti wmshaou - دسروك ابنتي وا مشاوا
2) Khellih ijerreb khellih - خليه يجرب خليه
3) Ya lkhayen 3ddebtini - يا لخاين عذبتيني
4) Kindir nferreqek wnti mmwi - كندير نفرقك و أنتي أمي
5) Kent n3aani min guelbi - كنت نعاني من گلبي
6) Lli galou lik ma idoumou lik - اللي گالوا ليك ما يدوموا ليك
Get it all here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Moroccan Tape Stash Of The Air - Live Today on Bodega Pop Live


Moroccan Tape Stash comes alive this week, as I join Gary Sullivan, curator of the great Bodega Pop blog, on WFMU's Give The Drummer Radio for a special episode of his Bodega Pop Live show. You can find us live on the interweb today - Wednesday September 21, 4-7PM PDT, or in the archives thereafter.

Follow this link, and join us for some Gab and Groove, Gnawa and Ghiwane, Chaâbi and Chikhat, and much more!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Inerzaf - The Classic Line-up with Hamid and Lahcen

best guess personnel, clockwise from top center: Lahcen Bizenkad - lead vocal, bendir; Mohamed Abdelghani - guitar, vocal; Hassan Batch - tam tam, vocal; Boubker Ouchtain - bendir, vocal; Hamid Baih (Hamid Inerzaf) - banjo, vocal.

Today's tape comes to you courtesy of Mr Tear, curator of the Snap, Crackle & Pop blog and host of the The Junk Shop radio program. It's a good one, too - a vintage tape from the group Inerzaf (or Inrzaf). Thanks, Mr T!

Inerzaf ("Wedding Guests") came together in the early-to-mid-1980s in the area of Agadir. Like tagroupit contemporaries Oudaden and Ait Lâati, Inerzaf were inspired by the wave of 70s groups like Izenzaren, Archach and Ousman, but drew more heavily on Soussi Berber musical sources, such as the amarg/rwayes tradition. And like Oudaden and Ait Lâati, Inerzaf used the distinctive combination of electric guitar and banjo.

The most renowned version of the group seems to be the one including both composer/singer/bendir player Lahcen Bizenkad and banjoist Hamid Baih. A highlight of this line-up is Hamid's virtuosic banjo playing, which is universally praised in online video comments. This version of the group was together from the mid/late 80s to around 1995. They are pictured on the j-card above and are featured in the live video embedded below:

All members of the group remained active after they split in the mid-1990s. Hamid and Lahcen both lead groups to this day, and the others have done so over the years as well. All of them use the name Inerzaf, and formations often feature more than one member of the earlier group (e.g., Inerzaf Hamid, Inerzaf Lahcen Bizenkad, Inerzaf Boubker, Inerzaf Brothers, Inerzaf Family...)

Inrzaf (انرزاف) Nassiriphone cassette NP183
A1) Ahinou Madrigh Zine - احنو مدويغ الزين - Iskert Lehouz Uwuday - إسكرت الحوز ؤوداي
A2) Allah Allah Ijra Ghikad - الله الله إجرا غكاد

B1) Yan Kirn Zine - يان كرن الزين
B2) Aoulinou Sber Idagh - اولينو صبر يداغ
B3) Samhatagh Nsemhek - صمحتغ نصمحك
B4) Oufighd Ameksa - الفغد أمكسا

Get it all here.

Sources: My info about Inerzaf comes primarily from three online musician biographies here, here, and here. Apologies for any errors or omissions.