Tuesday, December 23, 2014

recommended Middle Eastern music for your hols: Syria, North Africa, El Ghorba

More great stuff I've come across:

1. Sabri Mudallal (Moudallal), live in concert in Cologne (1988) and studio recordings (1989).

This two CD set is available to download here, courtesy the music blog Oriental Traditional Music from LPs & Cassettes. Sabri Moudallal (1918-2006) was one of the twentieth centuries most renowned singers hailing from Aleppo, Syria. He was both a muezzin and a singer of the distinctive Aleppo genre of music, the wasla 'suite.' He is probably best known outside of Syria as a vocalist with the al-Kindi Ensemble. Essential reading on Aleppo's music scene, including a discussion of Moudallal, is Jonathan Shannon's Among the Jasmine Trees Music and Modernity in Contemporary Syria.

2. A collection of recordings, courtesy the music blog Arab Tunes, by Cheikha Habiba Saghira dating from the seventies and eighties. Habiba Saghira is one of the great rai cheikhas. The set commences with the song "Nebghi Nechreb" (I want to drink). It concludes with "Yasker Ou Yebki" (He drinks and cries). You get the idea. I posted photos of a couple Habiba Saghira record jackets awhile back, here

3. Courtesy the music blog Phono Mundial, a mixtape of music of El Ghorba or exile, a "cassette" composed of two "sides" of Maghrebi music. Side A is a set of music, produced mostly in France, dating from post Algerian independence. Great tracks from the likes of Abranis, Doukkali and Mazouni. Side B is a bit more contemporary than Side B, with some great twist, yé-yé, rock'n'roll and Kabyle fusion, from the likes of Karoudji, Mazouni (again), and Rachid et Fathi. It also includes a song very dear to my heart, Bellemou's "Zerga ou Mesrara," with vocals from Hamani Tmouchenti, one of the original pop-rai songs. I've written about it previously here and here. (Phono Mundial claims the recording of this Bellemou track was done in Marseille. I wonder...) [Correction, December 30, 2014: apologies to Phono Mundial, who say the track was issued in Marseille, and not recorded there. So cool that it was issued there!]

4. Courtesy Jewish Morocco, a mixtape for Hanukkah (or any other holiday you like, in fact), titled "Mazal Haï Mazal: Eight North African Tracks to Light Your Soul On Fire." It is not free, it's $5, or more, if you'd care to donate to Jewish Morocco's digitalization project. You won't find these rare tracks elsewhere, by such renowned artists as Albert Suissa, Reinette l'Oranaise, and Zohra El Fassia. I'm particularly excited about getting my hands on a recording of  Blond-Blond's "La Bombe Atomique." Read more about this collection here.

Happy holiday listening!


Anonymous said...

Hi Ted, I don't claim that Bellemou's track has been recorded in Marseille, just that my 7" copy is on a marseilles label (sonia disques) ! regards. loic

Ted Swedenburg said...

Thanks for the correction, loic!

Anonymous said...

Apologies accepted ;) , ted !! Thank you for this article. In facts my record is on Sudiphone label, not Sonia. (marseille has three different arabic music labels : tam tam, sudiphone, and sonia (which probably went to paris later, as I have a remitti tape from barbès area).
Tam tam recorded west african music as well, and one of these recorded armenian music too, earlier (armenian diaspora came one century ago in marseille...)
Bellemou record may have been issued on different labels, like the freres megri Lp or some nass el ghiwane records, which have been issued on maghreb labels AND on marseille labels. Probably the same thing happens between Lyon, Paris, Marseille. Also these labels often had a distribution purpose. To finish, many artists came to Marseille and then continued their carreers in Paris.. (like Mazouni)
As for Bellemou, most tracks from Proto Raï compilation come from Oasis Disques, Monde en Musique, Zed El Youm from Alger. Probably Damien from Phocééphone blog know more, as he dedicated himself to marseille arabic labels. regards and HNY, ted !