Tag Archives: Moroccan music

Artist Profiles: Kol – Tof Duo

Kol – Tof Duo

Kol Tof Trio was formed by three musicians. Three instruments, three native lands, three languages, all gathered in Jerusalem to play the music of Morocco which remembered Spain, which in turn, yearned for Jerusalem.

The trio was born out of deep love and appreciation of the Moroccan Jewish musical traditions, thanks to a special bond between Moroccan born ud player Armand Sabach, singer Esti Kenan Ofri and percussionist Oren Fried. Together they brought a personal and distinctive selection of four different musical repertoires: Spanish women’s songs from northern Morocco, sung in their original language (the Haketia); songs in Jewish Moroccan Arabic dialect; Moroccan Jewish liturgical music; and classical Andalusian songs sung in Arabic.

The Trio won the Israeli Ministry of Culture award for best chamber ensemble 2002, performed at the “Strictly Mundial” festival in Marseilles 2003 and played in various concerts and festivals in Europe and Israel.

Discography:

Gazzelle (Magda, 2003)

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Artist Profiles: Gnawa Diffusion

Gnawa Diffusion

The members of Gnawa Diffusion, who are based in Grenoble in the South East of France, come from a rich mix of musical and cultural backgrounds. Fusing their individual influences into a collective sound, Gnawa Diffusion have woven elements of rap, ragga, jazz, reggae and rai into a vibrant musical patchwork.

The group’s name is a reference to the Gnawa, black Africans who were deported to North Africa in the 16th century by the rulers of Fes and Algiers. While the Gnawa were officially converted to Islam by their new leaders, they continued to worship their own African gods in private.

The way Gnawa Diffusion sees it, this historic tale of people uprooted from their homeland and forced to begin a new life in a foreign land is remarkably similar to the lives of modern-day immigrants growing up in France. Indeed, the group’s lead singer, Amezigh, son of the famous Algerian writer Kateb Yacine, considers himself to be a 20th century version of the Gnawa.

Amezigh, who arrived in France in 1988 at 16, has been closely involved in the struggle to defend immigrants’ rights and abolish racial prejudice. When Amezigh formed Gnawa Diffusion in 1992 he saw the group as an alternative means to get his political message across. Amezigh, Gnawa Diffusion’s lead singer and songwriter, writes his lyrics in three languages, Arabic, French and English.

Gnawa Diffusion started their career in 1993 with the release of a mini 5-track album named “Legitime difference”. Following the release of their CD album the group began to concentrate on their live career, with an extensive tour of France, performing concerts with a host of French stars including FFF, Zebda, Massilia Sound System and Princess Erika.

Gnawa Diffusion’s innovative musical fusion and the hard-hitting lyrics of their protest songs have certainly made them one of the most prominent new groups on the French music scene. The group’s single “Ombre-elle” and their first full album “Algeria” (released in 1997 on GDO) served to increase their popularity – and Gnawa Diffusion’s live shows began to attract an impressive number of fans! When they hit the road for the Chibani tour – Gnawa Diffusion’s personal tribute to the past – the group’s lively on-stage performances attracted huge audiences across the world and led them to play in such places as the Africa Festival in Wurzburg, the Francofolies in la Rochelle, the Berlin Music Fest, Montreux Jazz festival in Switzerland, Reading/Leeds festival in the UK, Pirineos Sur Festival in Spain, Rascimus Beat It in Netherlands, Fete des Cent in Belgium, etc.

In January 1999, Gnawa Diffusion returned to the studio to work on their second album “Bab El Oued-Kingston” (which was released in May). The album featured the band’s usual fusion sound, but this time Gnawa Diffusion also began experimenting with traditional music, recording their own innovative version of “Chara’Allah” – a three hundred years old song. Following the release of the album, Gnawa Diffusion went on the road again, kicking off an extensive tour in Toulouse. Before the end of the year, music fans flocked to see the group playing concerts all over Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Gnawa Diffusion also performed at various music festivals throughout the summer of 1999.

Gnawa Diffusion rocketed back into the music news in June 2000 with a new album entitled Bab El Oued 2. At the end of the year the group also headed out to perform a tour in Algeria and flew back there again in 2001 for a mini-series of four dates. Renowned for their energetic live performances, the group returned to the festival circuit in the summer and traveled to such countries as Yemen, Syria, Jordania and Sudan.

After their Algerian tour, following the murderous confrontations in Kabylia, the band released a double live album titled Live DZ – the first live album ever recorded during a tour in Algeria.

in June 2003, the band came back with a new album, Souk System. Sung in French, Arabic and English, the lyrics were more political than in the previous albums. They referred to international news, denouncing as well as satirizing the events. As for the music, it consisted in the usual mixture of reggae and raga muffin, chaabi and Gnawa music. They began another worldwide tour from France to Canada and from Europe to North Africa.

Discography

Légitime différence (1993)
Algeria (Melodie, 1997)
Bab el Oued – Kingston (Musisoft, 1999)
Bab el Oued 2
DZ Live (Next Musique, 2002)
Souk System (Warner, 2003)
Fucking Cowboys (D’Jamaz Production, 2007)
Shock El Hal (2012)

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Tawassol by Gabacho Maroc Tops the Transglobal World Music Chart Album in March 2018

Gabacho Maroc – Tawassol

Tawassol, the album released by French band Gabacho Maroc is the number one album at the Transglobal World Music Chart in March 2018. The band performs a captivating fusion of North African traditions, jazz and trance music.

Current band members include Hamid Moumen on vocals and guembri; Aziz Fayet on vocals, ud and percussion; Frédéric Faure on African percussion, ngoni and backing vocals; Illyes Ferfera on tenor saxophone and backing vocals; Pierre Cherbero on keyboards and backing vocals; Eric Oxandaburu on bass; and Vincent Thomas on drums.

The album also features Jean-Philippe Rykiel on keyboards; Pascuala Ilabaca on vocals; Ermanno Panta on flute; and Mixel Ducau on alboka and tin whistle.

The rest of the chart:

2. TootArd – Laissez Passer – Glitterbeat
3. El Naán – La Danza de las Semillas – El Naán
4. 3MA: Ballaké Sissoko, Driss El Maloumi, Rajery – Anarouz – Six Degrees
5. Samurai Accordion – Te – Visage Music
6. Monsieur Doumani – Angathin – Monsieur Doumani
7. Boubacar Traoré – Dounia Tabolo – Lusafrica
8. Júlio Pereira – Praça do Comércio – Tradisom
9. Okra Playground – Ääneni Yli Vesien – Nordic Notes
10. Omar Sosa & NDR Bigband – Es:Sensual – Otá

11. Elena Ledda – Làntias – S’ard Music
12. Gaiteiros de Lisboa – A História – Uguru
13. Sara Tavares – Fitxadu – Sony Music Portugal
14. Malagasy Guitar Masters – Volo Hazo – Buda Musique
15. Maya Youssef – Syrian Dreams – Harmonia Mundi
16. L’Alba – A Parulluccia – L’Alba
17. Efrén López, Stelios Petrakis, Bijan Chemirani – Taos – Buda Musique
18. Sinan Cem Eroğlu & Muhlis Berberoğlu – Hemdem – Ahenk Müzik
19. Son Palenque – Kutu Prieta pa Saranguiá – Palenque
20. Toto Bona Lokua – Bondeko – Nø Førmat!

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The White Medinas

Carmen París y Nabyla Maan – Dos Medinas Blancas (Fol, 2017)

Dos Medinas Blancas is an album that features two outstanding vocalists, Carmen París (Spain) and Nabyla Maan (Morocco). Carmen is well-known in Spain for her vocals skills and her combinations of Spanish traditional music like jota and flamenco with jazz and world music. She’s also a composer and songwriter. Meanwhile, Nabyla Maan is a young and rising talent with a beautiful voice that brings her Moroccan roots to the mix. Nabyla also composes music and writes her own songs.

The album features songs in Spanish and Arabic, brilliantly fuses the musical influences from the two countries and includes musicians and musical instruments from both cultures.
The lineup includes Carmen París and Nabyla Maan on vocals; Tarik Hilal on Spanish guitar; Mahmoud “Chouki” on mandola, banjo and outar; Peter Oteo on electric bass; Borja Barrueta on drums; and Pablo Martín Jones on pamderos (frame drums), caxixi, darbuka and cajón.

The CD is nicely packaged and includes liner notes in Spanish, English and French.

Dos Medinas Blancas is also a musical project that was co-produced and presented live by two music festivals, L’Boulevard in Morocco and Pirineos Sur in Spain.

Dos Medinas Blancas is a splendid, masterfully performed album that brings together the musics of Spain and Morocco and two of their finest vocalists.

 

 

 

Buy Dos Medinas Blancas

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Artist Profiles: Oudaden

Oudaden at Rainforest World Music Festival- Photo by Suchens, courtesy of Sarawak Tourism Board

Oudaden, one of Morocco’s mythical groups of the last twenty years, draws its inspiration from traditional Amazigh (Berber) music. The group is passionately devoted to its roots, which they update into a lively music that enjoys the support of North African audiences since its early days, while more and more international sspectatoraudiences rapidly become enthusiastic.

 

Oudaden at Rainforest World Music Festival- Photo by Suchens, courtesy of Sarawak Tourism Board

 

Their music is an innovative mix of traditional bendir and nakus sounds; these traditional Amazigh instruments they combine with modern ones including banjo, electric guitar and tam-tam. In their universal lyrics they explore the subtleties of love as well as the economic and social difficulties of their region, being the spokespersons of Amazigh culture.

After several successful tours in the United States of America and in Europe, especially on the stages of Bercy and the Zenith in Paris, and 14 albums contributing to the revival of Amazigh songs, the group has attracted the attention of international media and world music professionals.

 

 

Partial Discography

* Tafokt Ortbadlt
* Intlk Ayadil Ifr
* Empreinte (Buda Musique, 2011)
* Mayna (2012)

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Artist Profiles: Maâlem Abdallah Guinéa

Maâlem Abdallah Guinéa

Maâlem Abdallah Guinéa is descended from an acclaimed family of artists. His father, Boubker Guinéa, is considered as one of Morocco’s greatest of all maâlems. Guinéa began playing the guimbri at age 12, and became a full maâlem and master musician at age 16.

Together with with his band, Nasse Ejadba, he quickly developed his own musical style, somewhere between traditional and modern Gnawa, which he calls “Fusion Trance.” As well as guimbri, Guinéa plays guitar, banjo and mandolin and has continued the progression of his music by introducing Western sounds into the mix, building a musical bridge between different musical styles.

In 2012, Maâlem Abdallah Guinéa released http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008XFE85C?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B008XFE85C&linkCode=xm2&tag=musidelmund-20 | Fangnawa, a collaboration with French Afrobeat group Fanga. The collaboration had its roots in 2011, when the Détours du Monde festival in Montpelier (France) presented Fanga and maâlem Abdallah Guinéa.

Discography

Fangnawa (Strut Records STRUT096, 2012)

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Artist Profiles: Dissidenten

Dissidenten

Uve Müllrich, Marlon Klein and Friedo Josch founded Dissidenten in Berlin, Germany, in 1980.

Following a one-year tour of Asia, the group decided to move from Berlin to India. Upon invitation from Maharaja Bhalkrishna Bharti of Gondagaon they spent a year at his palace in Madja Pradesh in central India. There, Dissidenten’s first album Germanistan was written in collaboration with the Karnataka College Of Percussion and the female singer Ramamani from Bangalore.

This project with the American saxophonist Charlie Mariano received attention far beyond the borders of India. Performances at a series of the most prestigious festivals in the world followed.

In 1983, after a tour of North Africa, the group set up camp in Tangier, Morocco. The American composer and author Paul Bowles introduced them to many Moroccan musicians.

The Dissidenten studio was established at the Sultan’s Palace in Tangier with the help of Abdessalam Akaaboune, one of the most influential powers behind the Arabic music scene. (The Rolling Stones work at his place since the days of Brian Jones). Dissidenten’s second album Sahara Elektrik was produced at his palace.

The track ‘Fata Morgana’ took off in Spain, South America and Italy and became a top dance-floor hit in 1985. Over 250,000 Spaniards saw and heard the band during a three-week-tour alone.

After the British DJ John Peel repeatedly featured the group in England, the euphoria that had originally started in southern Europe spread via England to North America, especially Canada. Sahara Elektrik made the top of the Canadian Independent Charts. A European tour followed.

In 1986, having established themselves as intercontinental contemporary world music pioneers with a worldwide reputation, Dissidenten moved back to Tangier to concentrate on film-scores to relax from extensive touring.

Unfortunately their success in the Arab World soon took such psychotic dimensions that they decided to shift their headquarters to Madrid, Spain to record the album Life at the Pyramids.

In 1987/88 they played the most important cities in Canada and the United States of America. Their final breakthrough came with their concert at the opening gala of the New Music Seminar in the New York Palladium.

During 1989, Dissidenten worked in Morocco, India, the United States of America and Spain on their album Out of this World released worldwide by Sire/Warner Brothers in New York.

Some of the most prominent North African musicians collaborated in the recording-sessions. Besides the string section of the Royal National Orchestra of Morocco, the album also features Cherif Lamrani and Mahmoud Saadi, members of the legendary groups Lem Chaheb, Jil Jilala and Nass El Ghiwane.

in 1990, after nearly a decade absence, Dissidenten’s home-base was moved back to Berlin. From there, they set out to promote Out of this World with concerts around the world. In Canada they started filming and recording for a project involving Native American music.

The album Live in New York was released in 1991, recorded live during their legendary concert at the Opening Gala of the New Music Seminar in New York’s Palladium. The rest of the year the group spent recording in Canada.

The year 1992 finds Dissidenten traveling between Berlin, Mumbai Bombay and Bangalore in South India to complete works on the album The Jungle Book which brought back many friends from their first Indian works in the early 1980s. Many of them have become renowned artists of their own, like Trilok Gurtu or Ramesh Shotham of the group Oregon.

The Jungle Book was released worldwide in 1993 and Dissidenten toured to promote the album around the globe. Top European radio DJ’s voted the album into second place amongst 800 productions in their annual World Music Charts Europe.

In 1994 Dissidenten topped various dance charts around the world – this time not their own production but through the Rave-remixes of Germany’s techno-Guru Sven Väth. This was the ideal opener for the world tour which lasted into 1995.

The rest of this year and 1996 the group spent traveling between recording studios from Los Angeles, Maui, Hawaii (where drummer Marlon Klein produced an album for Gary Wright and George Harrisson), Casablanca and Bombay where Uve Müllrich worked on soundtracks for Hindi Movies, while Friedo Josch was turning the knobs in native Berlin.

The resulting album, Instinctive Traveler , was released in 1997. More than forty musicians were involved in the production of Instinctive Traveler. The most outstanding discovery is the voice of BAJKA, then 18 year old daughter of Dissidenten bassist Uve Müllrich. No real surprise for insiders, Bajka, born in Dissidenten’s founding-place at the maharaja’s palace in Central India, spent most of her lifetime traveling with the group around the world and therefore knew the clues of Dissidenten.

After Bajka left the band to work on her own projects, Izaline Calister of Curacao, former singer of Holland`s world fusion pioneers Pili-Pili, joined the group.

The rest of the year Dissidenten spend touring around the world, mainly playing Festivals in Europe. Amongst them the prestigious Stuttgart Jazzopen Festival in Germany, Festa De La Diversidad in Barcelona (Spain) and the Leverkusen Jazztage in Germany.

During 1998 the band made occasional appearances at various festivals around the world- among them a concert at the Glastonbury Festival in England, the World Roots Festival in Amsterdam and the famous Enzimi Festival in Rome and the Sunsplash Festival in Leverkusen, Germany.

As a result of all these concerts, in November 1998 the album “Live In New York” was published, featuring long-time Dissident and American jazz legend Charlie Mariano on saxophone.

The turn of the year Dissidenten’s Müllrich and Klein spent in India and Brazil, preparing new projects for their label Exil Musik.

Marlon Klein produced the album Ten. A project of the Spanish composer Tomas San Miguel with the chalaparta and the 40 member Basque choir Coro Samaniego.

In 1999 Dissidenten played at various festivals around Europe, amongst them the Tollwood-Festival in Munich, Germany, the Montreux jazz-festival and another appearance at the Jazz-World-Stage in Glastonbury, England.

Marlon Klein was invited by jazz keyboardist Jasper van’t Hof to South Africa. In Durban he recorded the Zulu Choir Phikelela Sakhula and the Real Happy Singers and produced the Pili-Pili album Love Letter.

In 2000 Dissidenten took a new step into another musical world. Together with 70 year-old classical American composer Gordon Sherwood they worked on an opera about the river Danube, performed together with various classical orchestras in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania and Ukraine in 2000.

 

Discography

Sahara Elektrik (Exil, 1990)

Life At The Pyramids (Exil, 1990)

Out Of This World (Sire / Warner Bros., 1990)

Live In New York (Exil, 1991)

Germanistan (Exil, 1992)

The Jungle Book (Exil, 1993)

Love Supreme Remix (Exil, 1994)

Mixed Up Jungle (Exil, 1996)

Instinctive Traveler (Exil, 1997)

Live In Europe (Exil, 1998)

2001, a Worldbeat Odyssey (Exil, 2001)

Tanger Sessions (Exil, 2008)

Web site: /www.dissidenten.com

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Artist Profiles: Abdeljalil Kodssi

Abdeljalil Kodssi
Abdeljalil Kodssi

In 1980 Abdeljalil Kodssi recorded his first album with the group Mlouk el Hawa, followed by four more in the following four years. Until that moment, despite coming from a musical family, he had worked as a barber, playing in his spare time in his hometown of Marrakech. He met a famous Spanish writer, Juan Goytisolo, at his barbershop. Goytisolo fell in love with the group’s music and took them to Spain to accompany his book presentations. Through Goytisolo, Kodssi met Spanish rock musician Miguel Rios, who became involved in the project.

Kodssi’s time in Spain led to performances in Madrid, Barcelona, Salamanca, Valencia, etc. A fortuitous meeting with the folk group Al-Tall facilitated Mlouk el Hawa’s entry into France, with a concert in Marseilles.

In 1986 Mlouk el Hawa was invited for the second time to Valencia’s Troubadour Festival. The group recorded an album with Aktal: Chirk el andalus, as well as another of their own : Goman el frek. More tours followed throughout Spain and Morocco.

Kodssi met Hassan Hakmoun in 1987. Hakmoun is a famous Moroccan Gnawa musician, who has worked with Peter Gabriel and Don Cherry. Kodssi collaborated with Hassan Hakmoun and Don Cherry until Cherry’s death in 1995.

In 1990 Kodssi joined Nass Marrakech and participated in the group’s album, with contributions from Goytisolo. The following year, Nass Marrakech performed at Barcelona’s Grec Festival and decided to make this city their permanent base. For the neat years, Kodssi worked with Nass Marrakesh, Ektal and Javier Mas.

Abdeljalil Kodssi recorded Tamiz with Javier Mas and Jordi Rallo in 2000. That same year, he met Cuban musician Omar Sosa at the WOMEX conference in Berlin.

The year 2001 saw the release of Nass Marrakesh’s Bounderbala, featuring contributions from Omar Sosa and Jorge Pardo.

Kodssi’s first solo album Mimoun, produced by Omar Sosa for Ventilador Music, was released in 2002. A new solo album titled Oulad Fulani Ganga came out in 2007.

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