Category Archives: morocco

RUPTURE & YTO BARRADA @ THE WALKER ART CENTER

walker-yto

In conjunction with the exhibition An Album: Cinematheque Tangier, join artist/filmmaker Yto Barrada and special guest DJ Rupture, referred to as “a thoughtful pipeline for music from countless distant and obscure outposts” (New York Times), for an evening filled with the music and movies of North Africa. Cash bar.
Free. November 21, 2013. 6 – 9 pm. Walker Art Center, Burnet Gallery

YES MINNEAPOLIS! I’LL BE SPINNING LOTS OF EXTRA NICE MUSIC FROM NORTH AFRICA & IT’S FREE & YTO’S AWESOME SO SEE YOU THERE YES.

THIS VIDEO DOCUMENTS A CONCERT I STAGED IN THE TANGIER MEDINA, RIGHT OUTSIDE YTO’S CINEMATHEQUE. MZIEN! IFULKI! <3 MAROC.

ALMOST THERE: SUFI PLUG INS

Here’s an image the Bayati Maqam synthesizer I’m working on… Sufi Plug Ins are free music software I’ve been developing with some talented friends. Four of the SPIs are synths hard-wired to north african tuning systems, with everything clearly labeled in the Berber script of neo-Tifinagh. Amazigh apps! We decided to make a nice artist print version too –


Lots more information on the SUFI PLUG INS coming very soon.

ON SALE: IMANAREN CD & PALM WINE CASSETTE

We are living in a material world. Here are two fruits of Beyond Digital, a gorgeous CD and a cassette, available for purchase here.

The debut CD of Imanaren is a lovely thing. We re-released this digitally on Dutty Artz, but here, exclusive and for the first time, is a very limited edition of the original physical CD, produced in Morocco by Hassan Wargui. (These CDs don’t play well with all drives, so purchase comes with a download link to the Dutty Artz digital version; you can burn up a lossless CD if yours doesn’t play well.)

For an introduction to Imanaren, read (the amazing) Nina Power’s review in The Wire or check out this video — a brief interview with Wargui followed by the album’s first track.

I’ve also got a few copies of the Palm Wine – Dreamachine / Beyond Digital mix cassette. This is great project initiated by artist Simone Bertuzzi. One side features his field recordings from northern Morocco including excerpts from the Master Musicians of Joujouka Festival. (For in-depth observations on the Jajouka/Joujouka phenomenon, try my essay for The National, “Past Masters.”) The tape’s flip side contains a b2b selection Maga Bo & I assembled while traveling on trains across Morocco. Our contribution is unmixed (it’s like an old school cassette you may have made for friends way back when…). Simone has a detailed writeup about the entire project here. My side starts off with the magical Luzmilla Carpio, and this is a 2-minute excerpt from Side A, Simone’s Dreamachine field recordings:
Palm Wine “Dreamachine mix” [2 min. excerpt] by Palm Wine

Please note: if you’d live outside of the U.S. and would like to order the Palm Wine cassette, please do it directly from the Palm Wine blog. This order form allows for U.S. purchases of the Imanaren + Palm Wine, and rest-of-world purchases of the Imanaren.

Make sure you use the dropdown form to select which item(s) you want and whether your location is US or rest-of-world. Shukran.


prices include shipping




NASS EL GHIWANE FILM TRANSES @ SPECTACLE TONIGHT

A reminder: you are invited to Spectacle Theater tonight, Monday December 5th, for an evening of live radio and a screening of Nass El Ghiwane film TRANSES, one of the best musical documentaries ever… and I’m not just saying that because I’ve been obsessed with Moroccan music since forever and did some touring with Nass El Ghiwane back in the day.

TRANSES is a great, poetic introduction to the deliriously deep world of Maghrebi sound — and the social shifts it both anticipates and provokes.

All the best documentaries document – give us a glimpse through a weltanschauung window – rather than explain (there are no voice-overs here, for example), and excellent translations mean that we get to experience the band’s lyrical power as well. So c’mon down! We’ll talk, listen, watch.

TRANSES-Spectacle-flyer478

MUDD UP RADIO & NASS EL GHIWANE FILM TRANSES LIVE @ SPECTACLE

several plates spinning

* Tomorrow, I’ll be in Durham, North Carolina, performing at the Duke Coffeehouse.

* Friday Nettle will make our D.C. debut at a special edition of Africa Is Not A Country hosted by DJs Bent and Mothersheister! We have new songs to play, a new album to sell, and hope to see you.

* Saturday, Nettle returns to Brooklyn for an intimate show at Williamsburg gallery space Vaudeville Park. We have four hundred candles and Ian keeps talking about tapestries and/or pillows. ATTENDANCE MANDATORY, NEW NEW YORK. Lamin Fofana will DJ.

* Then on Monday December 5th– the action never stops, does it? — you are invited to Spectacle Theater in south Williamsburg for a live broadcast of my WFMU radio show. Thanks to everyone who made our inaugural 100% Arabica Spectacle broadcast a success. Live FM from our favorite underground theater!

Image

[Nass El Ghiwane]

The December 5th radio show will be built from a YouTube selection of my favorite Moroccan tracks, and will be followed by a screening of Ahmed El Maanouni’s gripping and poetic Nass El Ghiwane documentary film, TRANSES (1981). Nass El Ghiwane, a group of working class musicians from Casablanca, revolutionized Maghrebi music in the 1970s and remain Morocco’s most important band. TRANSES captures them at the height of their power.

transesphoto

[self-portrait in my Transes poster]

Here is an oft-compiled Nass El Ghiwane track, Mahmouma. This version comes from Stern’s epic 18-CD “Africa 50 years” box set (“The most comprehensive compilation of African music ever achieved. . . 183 classic recordings by 183 important artists from 38 countries in North, South, East and West Africa.”)

Sterns cut Mahmouma down to half its length, but the mastering is good:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Nass El Ghiwane – Mahmouma

johnfpeters bdmoroc 5828

[John Francis Peters - Meryem by the sea in Casablanca]

And last but not least, head to Time Magazine’s Lightbox to see “Insha’Allah”, a photoessay by John Francis Peters, taken in Morocco as part of our Beyond Digital project.

NETTLE & HASSAN WARGUI (IMANAREN) live in Tangiers

Busy season… I’ve been meaning to post about September, when Nettle, Maggie and Juan, and Hassan and Abdellah and I met up in Tangiers Morocco for a week. Until I get the time to explain more about that, here is a video which captures the spirit and sound of what happened:

This September 2011, Hassan Wargui (Imanaren) from south Morocco met the group Nettle from New York City in Tangiers. A week of collaborative songwriting and recording led up to a concert outside the Cinematheque de Tanger in the medina. This is “L’Avion”, one of the songs they wrote during this time.

Imanaren. and their album, out now on Dutty Artz.

Nettle. And their album, out now on Sub Rosa.

PALM WINE BEYOND DIGITAL MIX ON CASSETTE

PW cover front

This is the artwork for a small-run tape / cassette-art project initiated by Simone Bertuzzi. One side features his recordings from Tangiers and the Joujouka Festival in Morocco, and the flip side contains a mix that Maga Bo and I arranged while on a train from Casablanca to Tangiers during Beyond Digital. Simone asked us to select tunes, keeping in mind that the tape would be inserted into Moroccan “bootleg” distribution networks, given out for free in Joujouka, as well as being avaible to all you lovely internet creatures via a 10euro paypal order.

For more on The Master Musicians of Jajouka and/versus The Master Musicians of Joujouka, check out my piece for The National, “Past Masters.”

Simone’s project intrigued me however, as he was more or less sidestepping the aura of arty mysticism around Joujouka and working with what you might call distributional aesthetics — something I think about a lot as well.

tape label

[artwork from the notorious lost Fesmaatic edition]

Bertuzzi writes: “My main goal was to have a sort of non-official distribution in Morocco, things are quite interesting in terms of bootlegging, cd-r and distribution in general in Morocco. I wanted to let locals listen to both the music of the Master Musicians of Joujouka (very known in the rest of the world, but more or less unknown within Morocco) and the eclectic mix of music by Rupture and Maga Bo. This is also why I didn’t decide to focus specifically on Morocco and moroccan music, but I asked the djs to put as much music as possible from many different countries and epochs.”

This is taken from his long, honest post chronicling the ups & downs of whole process.

NETTLE IN TANGIERS

cartel-concierto-01

[The poster uses 3 alphabet character sets: Arabic, Tifinagh, Latin]

This Friday we’re presenting Beyond Digital Morocco at the Cinematheque de Tanger, then moving outdoors for a free concert featuring Nettle (here in Morocco Nettle is a trio: myself, Lindsay Cuff, and Brent Arnold) and Hassan Wargui (Imanaren). All happening in Tangiers’ incredible medina.

Nettle is from NYC, and Hassan’s from Souss Berber country in Morocco’s south — we’re using these days to develop and record new songs together. It’s not that music ‘transcends’ language, it’s that music is language, and our motley crew is enjoying its communicative glow. Lindsay’s learning the words (in the Berber language of Tashelhit) to an Archach song we’ll cover; Hassan’s Amazigh banjo lines help us extend ‘Mole in the Ground’ even further; Abdellah’s joining in on rebab and bendir… and things are just getting started.

Here’s a quick video of our first practice together:

 

RSVP on the Facebook event page if you’d like to let the C.I.A. know you support us. Offline, we’re making event posters at a truly special letterpress studio that’s been open for over half a century.

bonus: late-night afterparty at Morocco Palace (located on a street called ‘the Devil’s Alley’, one block over from Tangiers’ synagogue, which had a congregation of around 200,000 during its heyday) with Adil El Miloudi!!

BEYOND DIGITAL MOROCCO: JUNE 2011 VIDEO

I’m very excited to present this video. It’s a short Behind The Scenes look at our Beyond Digital: Morocco art project. You can also check out my series of Fader posts, and the BD website itself, but this video is by far the best summary and explanation of what we were up to in June, and in so doing it provides glimpses of what’s to come: an incredible photo series by John Francis Peters; poignant video essays by Maggie Schmitt and Juan Alcon Duran; my free Max4Live audio tools suite, Sufi Plug-Ins; Maghrebi percussion sample pack & music by Maga Bo; and more… We are also doing an event in Tangier on September 9th, info next week.

Auto-tune lovers take note: the video previews a snippet from the best auto-tune interview ever, when we spoke with Moroccan pop star Adil El Miloudi in his home.

Image

Adil El Miloudi: “Autotune gives you a ‘me’ that is better.”

BEYOND DIGITAL MOROCCO UPDATE: VILLAGE BOYS, VILLAGE MAGIC

JOHNFPETERS 3296B

[Rainstorm in Issafn, photo by John Francis Peters for The Fader]

The group blog over at our Beyond Digital: Morocco site has been lively as things accelerate. Each week John Francis Peters and I find time to join photos and text documenting some of our time here. The series is here, and you can go direct to this week’s post – Village Boys, Village Magic, and the Best Breakfast Ever.

excerpt 1

Issafn’s empty adobe houses crumble back into the rocky landscape. It’s newer self-built cinderblock palaces line a sliver of green—date palms, figs, monstrous olive trees—around a riverbed that’s walkable barring flash-floods. Ten years ago Issafn had no electricity. Powerlines were strung when the new king came to power, and now local hiphop crews post online videos of themselves rapping in Tashelhit. Hassan and his buddies put together an hourlong DVD (that’s genre-scramble seems inspired by Bollywood’s action-romance-spy-comedy-melodrama-all-at-once attitude) that they shot in the hills. The women still haul water up from the creek pre-dawn, and the cybercafe’s sign has been around so long that it’s rusted, nearly out of legibility. What’s gonna happen in the next decade?

Maghreb Mix Party, Track 9 (Sexy Back Blend) by The FADER

 

JOHNFPETERS 3358c

[The King's Speech, photo by John Francis Peters for The Fader]

excerpt 2

Walking around Issafn, we are the aliens. Most of our crew doesn’t speak Arabic or French, not that those would help much. Tashelhit is the first language of everybody else here, and many of the older generation don’t speak Arabic. So communication turns into gestures and patience. We learn that the Berber term for beetle is iguiliguiz, a word impossible to pronounce without smiling. We learn that a great magic bird named Baz taught people in this land how to make music. We learn that honeycomb and homemade almond paste and olive oil and round bread is the best breakfast ever.

Maghreb Mix Party, Track 10 by The FADER