It is a sad and beautiful world. People die, absence happens, tiny ants eat through wood and houses fall down. Our task: to take care of ourselves. to remember everything. to open the hand. to listen.

Music helps, even when words escape us.

These two tracks come from an excellent album, Chaabi Marocain. I love Moroccan chaabi for many reasons, sliding violins and rhythms whose complexity is social, requiring multiple players interlocking, structures of more than one.

Listen to the way that in the first song (this is two tracks on the CD, which is a nonstop medley) a 4/4 beat accelerates into the polyrhythm around 33 seconds in. Life is good. Irrepressibly so – how can you not be moved? We dance, we die. The melody from the second one versions a song – a wedding song if I remember correctly – called 55 in Arabic, a word I write as Hamza Hamzin, weird oral fragments transliterated into Castillian Spanish: they way I learned them. To step towards a language, a tongue, a body. To be gentle with what we love. To dance. Magic numbers painted on a shuttered storefront. Underneath the pavement, the beach! But underneath the beach, more pavement. Life’s line – the space of possibilities – is thin. To burn these minutes in a useful way. If you can’t count out the music let your body, it can. The songs stop abruptly because this is a medley; they are not supposed to stop.

[audio:Al Firka Al Dahabia – Track 19+20.mp3]

Al Firka Al Dahabia – tracks 19+20

[audio:Al Firka Al Dahabia – 55.mp3]

Al Firka Al Dahabia – Hamza Hamzin


  1. he has a few (i think) CDs available on the Fassiphone label. Their website is currently down, but Fassiphone has shops in Brussels (their home base) and Paris.

  2. Hi Jace
    Good to know, I’ll check for that in my hometown Brussels then 🙂 I’ll guide you to some shops when you’re here for the gig in Recyclart with Omar Souleyman! actually i’m the press & public relations guy, hence a collegue of Dirk…
    and you’re right, the polyrithmic 12/8 bar structure of chaabi lends itself very well to a 4 to the floor accentuated beat!

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