Aisha Kandisha’s Jarring Effects, was formed in Marrakech in 1987 by Abdou El Shaheed, Habib El Malak and Pat Jabbar, to develop a Shabee (Popular Moroccan music) dance crossover, influenced by diverse elements such as Gnawa, Reggae, Ragga, HipHop, Ambient, Trance, House, and experimental noises.
The group was named after a spirit from the Moroccan mythology. Aisha Kandisha is a figure in the form of a woman. Legion. Manifold. A Mass Psychosis. Paul Bowles said that she was married 25 years ago to 35,000 men in Morocco. A lot of the people in Ber Rechid – the psychiatric Hospital – are married to her.
In 1988 Cheb My Ahmed, S’Mohamed Kbirr and Cheb Qchatar joined the band and the first recordings were made for the debut album, El Buya. The label Barraka El Farnatsi Productions was started in 1990 to release and distribute the album, which got a surprising positive reaction from all around the globe. During at this time all members were still students and a promoting live presence was not possible, so the work was concentrated on a second album.
In the meantime, an American journalist, whom the band met at Paul Bowles’ home in Tangiers, made contact with Bill Laswell in 1992. Laswell became producer and bassist for Shabeesation, released in 1993. The New York experience, which included jams with Omar Ben Hassan from the ” Last Poets ” and Bernie Worrell from Funkadelic/Parliament, helped the band a lot to get a worldwide response and to find booking agencies for their first Europe tour in 1994. At the same time, Cheb Qchatar (who worked also for Ahlam) left the band and got replaced by 23 year old Cheb Youssef (Rai and Shabee musician) and frontman Amira Saqati. Abdelhadi became the bass player and My Mansour the percussionist.
The new line-up brought a certain penchant for a more synthetic and bass oriented dance sound, but still keeping the traditional basics. The Shabeesation Tour 94/95 was a big succes, with audiences varying from small Jazz Clubs to Open Airs with over 40,000. They all seemed all to be taken by the Marrakshi Jedba Beat. The traditional parts of the set (Bonus Tracks at the end of a show) and tracks 12 and 13 on El Haoua got always an intense reaction and could go on for a half an hour at some shows and the people still wanted more.
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.