[old photo of Izenzaren’s lead singer, Igout Abdelhadi]

This week’s radio show was a slowdown stretchout, July 4th, fading flags. It begins with Izenzaren’s Akal, a lovely brand-new banjo jam which I saw them perform just a few days earlier down in Agadir Morocco. We later ran into the lead singer Igout Abdelhadi very randomly, while waiting to meet the king of Berber Auto-Tune… This whole trip was like that, one weird world after the other, bridged by serendipitous glue.

But radio. Most of this episode of Mudd Up is devoted to Gavin Bryar’s moving piece The Sinking of the Titanic; here I play the 1975 version produced & released by Brian Eno in its 30-minute entirety.

Next week I’ll be back in the studio for realtime radio, and week after that I’m very excited to announce that Total Freedom aka Ashland Mines will be the special guest. Details soon.


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!


[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.


[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:


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.



[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!!


this sunday I’ll be DJing near Dublin, with Mouse on Mars, Neill Landstrumm, and others, at the Sliabh An Iarainn (SAI ) festival.

Kaboogiewoogie explains: “its situated in a beautiful part of the country on an obliging mentaloid farmers’s land. His name is Pious and is a bit of a legend in the area.” Bog alchemists welcome. DJ Q-Bert & a bunch of cool electronica acts saturday nite.


old. time. music. now!

[Image: Rounder CD album cover]

While i listen to a some old old time music, i hadn’t paid much attention to new (or at least contemporary) old time music, and so when i heard the opening track of the Old Time Banjo Festival CD i thought, ungenerously, this is gonna be one of those comps with the best tune first. But then i listened to rest and its all as good, or better. ((if you like banjos))

I will give my Moroccan banjoist friends a copy of this. Who doesn’t like banjos? Even Clayton Bigsby likes banjos.

Out of all these players, Chris Coole lept out. witness his clawhammer style!!

Chris Coole – Hail on the Barndoor

clawhammer/frailing is the picking style which came, along with the banjo itself, from Africa. a bit more on that .

Black Banjo Songsters of North Carolina and Virginia

[Image: Black Banjo Songsters album art]

two short jams from the above album, Black Banjo Songsters .

John Tyree – Fox Chase

Leonard Bowles – Shortnin’ Bread

that’s all the Appalachia for now – off to Ireland.