busta l

Loudmouth cross-cultural outreach has long been a part of Mister Rhymes oeuvre, this we know.

But he just cranked it up a notch, rapping a timely rap about sound finance and geopolitics in light of a derailing US economy. On a lesser note, I get the feeling that he visited Dubai and stayed in the Burj Al Arab, what with the 7-star reference, etc, though he seems to think Arafat isn’t dead.

I’m not including the song title or full artist name because I want you Mudd Up! readers to listen to this track at your leisure — a cease-&-desist letter from Google-Alert wielding major label lawyers would interfere with our contemplation. (shout to Todomundo for the tip!)

autotuned oriental-rap implosion (is the chorus real or ersatz Arabic?)


This brand new single is major because it unites (presumably by force) what I consider to be the two major fields receiving autotune enhancement: namely black American rap/R&B and Maghrebi popular music (where its use spans genres & languages).

There’s a lot more to be said, but it’s late, lets enjoy some autochthonous Algerian autotuneage:

Cheb Abbes – track 6 from the mp3 CD Dub1 sent me (thanks!)


Ramzi – track 11 (thanks Andy!)



Maâlem, MC, master of ceremonies…


this cassette rip is a double rescue – I dubbed it to digital before lending the tape to C, who briefly enjoyed the gnawa tape before getting robbed in El Parque de la Ciutadella by a quiet purse-snatcher.

the leader is Mahmoud Gania, one of the more famous members of a famous family of musicians in Essaouira, Morocco.

Ma̢lem Mahmoud Gania Рcassette side

The except is 18 minutes long. A big part of gnawa is how it sidesteps time… i still don’t know. 18, 30 minutes. 4 hours. Sundown to sunup. What do you call something that could almost always go on for longer? Songs have beginnings and ends. These are not songs.

Gnawa music has flourished in the Western imagination completely out-of-scale with its popularity in Morocco, partly because of the basslines which can be appreciated in a dubby/reggae context by Western ears, and partly because of its backstory — the music of African slaves in the Maghreb, colonial music in the truest sense, Afro-Arab, ritual sounds used to cure snakebites & heal & cast out ill spirits in all-night ceremonies, etc.

30 or 40 years ago gnawa was very much looked-down upon in Moroccan society. Nass el Ghiwane’s massive success did a lot to popularize the instrument and dislodge its poor/black/marginal stigma, in a Moroccan context… My bandmate Khalid tells of the difficulty in finding a guembri when he was young, then getting scolded by his mother for having any interest in the music at all.


usually when i post music is it relatively obscure, hard-to-find stuff. Not today. This i picked up at a Spanish supermarket chain. She’s the best!

Nina Simone – See Line Woman (live)

If I could have, say, lunch, and then work on a tune with anybody ever in the whole world, it would prob be Nina Simone. But I can’t, so that’s that.

800px-Nina Simone14

ok, back to relatively hard-to-find.

I picked this up at Rachid’s Nassiphone shop in BCN last week. Rollicking chaabi marocaine, check the beats! The album — whose title (transliterated Arabic put into French grammatical structures) means Arabic Beats — is buyable at eMusic.

Fawzia Lahrizia et Titou РLoukan Sa̻ftini



short version: free North African music at Central Park Summerstage this Saturday Sunday!

new school princes of Moroccan beats, Fnaïre, make what they call ‘traditional rap’. until hearing their new album, Yed El Henna, i couldn’t get with Maghrebi hiphop — it always sounded like behind the times French rap or slightly more behind the times American rap. but Fnaïre is on it. The pan-Moroccan samples & structures sit inside the music in a comfortable way; the sound has become its own thing. Masala blogs em. check ‘Sah Raoui feat. Salah Edin.’ for the most successful gnawa-hiphop fusion tune i’ve ever heard (and it’s a genre i’m suspicious of!)

this tune, i can almost ID the sample/riff they are using. I have this music… somewhere.

Fnaïre – Tagine Loghate feat. Providence



[Fnaïre, myspace foto]

for old-school Moroccan styles, the Orchestre de Tanger is giving a special NYC concert tomorrow. $35, ouch! thankfully, the virtuoso classical Andalusian music ensemble will give a FREE concert this Saturday, as part of the Mediterranean-themed Central Park Summerstage event. Also appearing at that, Hassan Hakmoun, a gnawa fusionist who’ve work i’ve never warmed up to.

Group Picture

[Orchestre de Tanger]


CD FES 036


its been a few months, or more, since someone commented on one of my maghrebi music posts. that’s ok. I. WONT. STOP.

Nass el Ghiwane – Taghounja

from a 4 CD Fassiphone comp you can cop for 20€ in the right town. Allal Yaala (the man on the left above and below) is responsible for the banjo playing, which cuts straight to the heart. they are like this live – surefooted and unhurried – always opening spaces for Omar’s spoken words. when NeG hit their rhythm and all parts conjoin, the momentum, contagious.


La Gazette du Maroc just published a fascinating interview with one of the major north African expat producers in Paris, Brahim Ounasser, centering around his work with Nass el Ghiwane.

Qu’est-ce qui explique cette ruée vers la musique en ces années-là ?
Les immigrés vivaient majoritairement dans la solitude.

What explains this rush towards the music in these years?
The immigrants lived mainly in loneliness.


today’s radio show: special guest Sasha Frere-Jones, pop music critic for The New Yorker. info & google-oracular screenshot here.

+ + +

in other news, Dr Auratheft follows up his excellent Doabi Gypsies mix with a new one: The Gypsy Trail Revisited, a nice soundtrack to the whirled music discussion at Wayne’s World.

Auratheft writes: ” I just want to show – in sound – that identity is a problematic and ideological discourse. And it’s dangerous to think there’s something like a Judeo-Christian Foundation of Europe. There are many roots and routes, tracks and trails, narratives and stories, texts and contexts. Let’s make our own atlas, folks. This is what we share. Or expressed in sound and music: listen & learn.”

all this talk of identity makes me think on the following Charles Simic poem, from The World Doesn’t End:



– – –

There’s a gorgeous, gentle album which fits into these discussions — apparently I wasn’t the only one who brought it to Auratheft’s attention after hearing Doabi Gypsies. ‘Imagined’ by ney player Kudsi Erguner, the full title is: Flamenco & Musique Soufi Ottoman: L’Orient de l’Occident: Hommage à Ibn Arabi, Sufi de Andalucia.

أبن عربي

L’Orient de l’Occident – El Alba de la Unión


(my scanner put in those waves, it must be as heat-fatigued as i am)


Today’s song is the title track from Gaâda Diwane de Béchar‘s album Ben Bouziane. The France-based musicians hail from Béchar western Algeria, btwn the Sahara and the Atlas (mountains), natural setting for their afro-Maghrebi sound. Usually i’m burnt-out on anything that could be considered gnawa fusion, but Gaâda, at least on this cassette, nail it consistently with crisp original arrangements and tight playing (“le groupe a conçu son monde autour d’une relecture moderne de presque toutes musiques africaines” explains their MurdochSpace blurb).

Which reminds me: anybody know of a good cheap place to take French lessons in NYC? I’m tired of bluffing my way thru francophone websites & conversations…


Ga̢da Diwane de B̩char РBen Bouziane


They namecheck Nass El Ghiwane & Tinariwen as influences (Tinariwen also namecheck NeG as an influence), partaking in north Africa’s excellent tradition of what you could call ‘cosmopolitan roots’: bands repping the local (one amazing travel web writes “Béchar is the largest town in the western part of Algerian Sahara, and the administrative centre of the Saoura region. That’s more or less it. A place to stop, use as a base, stock up on food. But there is nothing at all to see here.”) while doing a self-conscious ‘relecture moderne’ (modern rereading, right?) of various relevant musical traditions, played on acoustic instruments, but wired into MySpace & the French world music market.

Local is good, but French concert revenue and arts funding is better. These are non-exclusive entities, and we are the richer for it.

(Homage to Germaine Tillion, Southern Algeria, 1938-39, Dr John 2005 creativecommons flickr.)

Also check his Migrados series, “A current project documenting the experiences of migrants in Spain, the spaces they occupy, their journeys, and the traces that they leave behind”. from which comes the following, Immigrant Wall Drawing, Madrid, Spain, Nov 2003. Lavapiés no less:


the special guest on Mudd Up! radio tonite will be my DJ mixer. The special guest next week (June 27) will be DJ Eddie Stats! upcoming guests in July & August include Caroline Bergvall, Sasha Frere-Jones, Kalup Linzy (& possibly Taiwan), and Heatwave.

Needless to say, I/we are psyched.


here’s a bootlegged official-unofficial CD i picked up in Barcelona this weekend. The artwork lists 6 tracks, but the CD only has 4. What got lost?

The shop didn’t have any Dahmane el Harrachi so they gave me this instead. Presumably lifted off cassette, this is a old recording of classic Algerian chaabi. (Right? I could be wrong — clarifications welcome.)


Algerian chaabi track 3, 9:20

since i couldnt find Dahmane in the shop, i went to youtube. they got him. He strides against the seashore in a wash of nostalgically saturated colors, intimations of l’immigritude heavy in the salty air.
Gulls cry, waves crash, boats and planes keep pulling people out of their homes.


“Don’t ask me about any of these Berber cassettes,” said Rachid’s asssitant at Nassiphone (BCN’s best shop for Maghrebi sound) as he hefted a milkcrate from behind the counter. “I know as much as you do.” Meaning: very little.

the cover of this cassette depicts Mr Tamount seated, a capoed & fretted banjo loose in his hands. The orange photoshop blur behind him anticipates vocoders and drum machines coded into Berber patterns. Imazighen.

Idriss Tamount – ? (Box Music)


For those who prefer less processed roots…

Amazigh band and dancers in the Atlas foothills, scattering timeless sound into the air with generator-powered amps. I enjoy watching the notion of a mainstream dissolve into a trillion scattered data-bites. Let’s dance on a red rug in wilderness!

The best part about YouTube is the impressionistic quality of its compression algorhythms… YouTube is always more storytelling than documentary. Suggests, does not inform.


In this clip, a string player & vocalist the size of Godzilla perform over a rich evergreen forest while alien geometries intersect the landscape. Visuals a strange but not unsatisfying partner for the ensemble’s Berber folklorix.