[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!!

FATH ALLAH LAMGHARI فتح الله المغاري

A special shukran goes to Jared, who is translating song info! With his help we learn that this gorgeous tune by Moroccan singer فتح الله المغاري Fath Allah Lamghari is called رجال الله “Men of God”. This classic (’70s?) version can be found on an album of the same name. Below, a video clip demonstrates what happens when the trusty melody and his toupee get a teevee glitz overhaul.
[audio: Fath Alah Lamghari – Rijal Allah (Men of God).mp3]
فتح الله المغاري Fath Alah Lamghari – رجال الله Men of God



Live in New York City? Read Arabic? I’m looking for someone to help me generate good metadata as I digitize the best of the CDs I brought back from this initial Morocco trip.

It’ll take an afternoon, and will consist of

A) typing up song titles in the original Arabic and

B) translating the song names into English as I

C) serve you tea and cookies (or tacos and horchata) in my studio and gift you whatever music you want

interested? email: nettlephonic at gmail



This time next week I’ll be getting ready to hop aboard Royal Air Maroc and zip over to the top of Africa. 12 hours left on our Beyond Digital: Kickstarter, and the support has been phenomenal.

Here an Arabic-language treat from Nubian singer Ali Hassan Kuban, featuring sweet early Auto-Tune on the vocals! Adapted from a traditional Bedouin song, “Gammal” (‘Camel Driver’) is a good track to play for the Auto-Tune skeptics. How can they resist? From his 2001 album Real Nubian: Cairo Wedding Classics.

Ali Hassan Kuban 2

[Ali Hassan Kuban]

Have a safe journey, my love will travel with you. Come back, let’s be together again soon.

[audio:Ali Hassan Kuban Gammal (feat. Shahin).mp3]

Ali Hassan Kuban – Gammal feat. Shahin Allam



Eddie Stats got it right in this week’s Ghetto Palms over at The Fader: “I actually can’t think of a better soundtrack for this moment that’s unfolding in Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia than the saaidi hardcore of my longtime (and I mean loooongtime) homegirl DJ Mutamassik.”

You’ll need to scroll down, but here’s an excerpt from Mutamassik on the making of her album — on the conditions in which it was made:

“…Going from a predominantly raw urban experience (see: childbirth on Medicaid in Brooklyn, many etcs.) to a raw, rough, rugged rural experience has taught me many things.

Let me give props where props are due: A decade plus+ in the streets of New York City and Cairo cut my teeth; half that time in Nature, however, has kicked my ass. Not just once, but continuously. This has been a boot camp. If inner city life made me hard, Nature made me harder. [. . .]
{The American gear (which 99% of our gear is, brought over from N.Y. on a ship with the entire $5,000 given to us by the U.S. government for being hard-working, poor and with child) is converted and stabilized by voltage transformers used by the U.S. military in the hairiest parts of Afghanistan–not proud, just real}. There is no central heating. We go deep into the forest to collect firewood, chop trees, burn burn burn. We make fires to stay warm (9 months out of 12). CAVEmen-style. . . Our only form of transportation has been our son’s stroller which we used well after he started walking to haul up large tanks of cooking gas. From it’s beginnings on Atlantic Avenue, and after many brutal years of international service as person, baggage, tank, garbage rickshaw, it has once again been recycled as a safe home for cats. {Note: None of this new or harsh to anyone but us city slickers/urbanites/suburbanites/industrialites}.

We have a relationship to Nature that is mostly not Soft, Ethereal, Romantic as somehow propagated by Dabbling-Vegan-Hallmark-Hippies, but rather Tense, Negotiating, Respectful…Intense. “

Bonus points if you have a copy of WAR BOOTY, her 12″ EP that I released on Soot a decade ago. Now a super sold out collectors item, the original vinyl came with rough cardboard record jackets that had the Arabic word for ‘soot’ branded into them. I lit two kitchens on fire doing it.

mutamassik war booty-SOOT004-001mutamassik war booty-SOOT004-001mutamassik war booty-SOOT004-001

Over here at Mudd, I’ve re-upped a classic Oum Koulsom MP3, head here to grab it. Of Koulsom, I wrote:

“…this incandescent Egyptian, whose songs move her listeners with tidal force, leading orchestras (composed of the usual suspects plus Abdel Wahab’s new friend: the electric guitar) in swooning iterations of song and theme, reacting to audience response/requests, cycling through stanzas for hours (Americans wouldn’t call it progress but we are certainly going somewhere, the same words or notes arrive but they mean different each time), emotional eddies make the river flow. Her popularity & impact remains vast, nearly compulsory, undemocratic.”


Thanks to everyone who came to Zebulon and helped make last night special! Right before Nettle played I DJed a half-hour of Maghrebi material. Stuff like this, but slower:

[audio: Dirilih Tilifoun.mp3]
Sawamit – Dirilih Tilifoun

from the excellent album Chaâbiya, only $6 at eMusic!
[audio: Aicha Ya Lalla.mp3]
Sawamit – Aicha Ya Lalla

and this

Hafida – track 1 (Fassiphone CD).
This Berber singer was first mentioned on Mudd Up! here.

and this

Soiree Live -Zoubida (La Caravane du Rif)


An Eid al-Fitr inspired post of songs from Yemen, Morocco, Algeria, and Spain. Yesterday I made the mistake of walking by the World Trade Center site – the crazies were already out! Already basking in media attention. Anyhow, music remains a gift and refuge:

first song comes from the dry but quintessential 17 CD box set, The Music of Islam. This is from vol. 11: Yemen


[audio:Various Artists – Taba’an Liqa (It Was Nice to Meet You).mp3]
VA – Taba’an Liqa (It Was Nice to Meet You)


next, some recent Moroccan chaabi. Got this last January in Barcelona; the guy burned me a CD-r of tunes sans meta-data… It’s a stormer though! Performed live, crowd cheers included:


Mudd Unknown – Moroccan chaabi excerpt


now let’s turn to Juan Peña Lebrijano y Orquesta Andalusí de Tanger’s album Encuentros. In which the old school Flamenco don goes progressive with vocals in Spanish and Arabic and a backing band from Tangier. A major work here in Muddlandia! Highly recommended.


[audio:JuanPenaLebrijano_y_OrquestaAndalusi_de_Tanger- Desafio.mp3]

Juan Peña Lebrijano y Orquesta Andalusí de Tanger – Desafío


last but not least, some Algerian jams from bootleg CD Style Arouri vol. 2, a compilation which will boost your tolerance for synthesizer trumpets:


[Cheba Fati]

[audio:Cheba Fati – Walla Laouayydou.mp3]

Cheba Fati – Walla Laouayydou

[audio:Cheb Samir – Amhabletni.mp3]

Cheb Samir – Amhabletni

…for weirder Eid-related activity, Visual Aid’s Eid thingy


sewens woollyfair

This Saturday, July 31st, I’ll be closing out the Wooly Fair in Providence, Rhode Island with a midnight set. They call it a “Providence-born DIY art carnival”, and it looks to be a very fun time. Creative grassroots events which aren’t necessarily focused on music are often the best places to DJ. Wooly Fair runs from 1 in the afternoon to 1am.

Lately I’ve been squeezing more Arabic moments into my sets. Here’s a clubby/rootsy gasbah flute track from Algeria:


Kamel Nemri – Lemrabta (from 2 CD Maghreb Dance Party)

and a re-up of a great clattering Tunisian beat workout (nobody commented on the original post. sigh.)


Ramzi – Cocktail Tounsi (Maghreb Dance Party)

The image below is a drawing of a temporary/permanent/growing installation, centerpiece of this year’s Wooly Fair. It’s “the Flower Tower, a pyramid of container gardens that will be distributed after the July 31st event to hospitals, schools, and other organizations.”




[???? – Cleveland Museum of Art calendar screenshot]

Regrettably, I can’t understand or link to anything particularly useful on the Cleveland Museum of Art’s calendar/CMS/blog, but I am happy to say that I’ll be DJing a midnight set at this Saturday’s summer solstice party (whose pricing system resists simple understanding), taking an increasingly crunk crowd into darkness on the shortest night of the year. I play til close so we’ll have time to sink deep. Also on the bill, Javelin, Phenomenal Handclap Band, Omar Souleyman, etc.

Omar Souleyman plays dabke, and if you like his SubFreq-filtered brand of Syrian wedding folk-techno you should get yrself to a nearby Arabic Music Shop, because dabke is a hugely popular genre in several countries, and you’ll find gems like this 14-minute flute-float party number, here chopped off midway because I’m saving the best half for my Arabic mixtape, which will be coming “soon”.

I love all languages countries and people that have words or phrases for different denominations of ‘now’ and subtle variations on ‘soon’, like Mexican Spanish with ahora and ahorita.

Where where we? Brooklyn. Andy bought this CD in Bay Ridge. It’s either Palestinian or Syrian. The cellphone/music store has either sold or removed the ceramic black Sambo figurines it had on sale.


Mudd Unknown – lovely flute

& here’s another song I might play. Latin fight song! A 128bpm banger from Papi Sanchez, Dominican in Miami, complete with ragga English language intro courtesy of Shabakan. Drop this at the right time & place and you will be rewarded. Or bottled. Maybe both.

00-va-promo only tropical latin february-2010-front


Papi Sanchez feat. Shabakan – Guayamo’ o Peliamo’