Sunday, October 28, 2012

Abdou el-Omari: Moroccan psych shaabi organ player

 One of the cool things that happened when I had coffee and crepes with Majid Bekkas and Brahim Fribgane a couple weeks ago was that I learned about some Moroccan artists who I'd never heard of before. One of them was Abdou el-Omari, who they told me was the first Moroccan organ player. Today, finally, I had a few minutes to hunt down some information about him.

From various sources, I learned that he was born in Tafraout, Morocco in 1945, and passed away on March 3, 2010 in Casablanca. informs us: "Abdou El Omari compte à son actif plusieurs œuvres musicales notamment "Zifaf Al Fadae", ainsi que des chansons qu’il a composées pour les chanteuses Naima Samih "Dani Rih" et "Khallani Ghriba", Fatima Mekdadi, Laila Ghofrane et Aicha El Waad."

I found three of his songs posted on youtube: "Raajat Layoun," "Fatine," and "Afrah el-Maghreb." They were all, it seems, recorded in 1976, and they are all quite trippy. I especially like "Afrah el-Maghreb," with its qaraqeb-propelled percussion. It is from his album, Nuits d'Été. You can download "Raajat Layoun" from the invaluable Radiodiffusion Internationaal Annexe here. The blog Arab Tunes has all three of the songs mentioned available for downloading.

I wish I could learn more, but at least I've now got those three great songs!

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