Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Modern Moroccan Berber Music

Berber Music From Southern Morocco does not usually make it far from its homegrown roots. So it was with pleasure that our music correspondent came across an interesting review by David Maine on Popmatters.com about an outfit from the village of Issafn, going under the name of Imanaren

Looking for “authentic” world music? You won’t get much more down-to-earth than Imanaren, a group of Berber musicians from the south of Morocco whose debut record was self-released on a limited scale within the country before being re-released by the Dutty Artz label. According to the label’s Web site, band leader Hassan Wargui “isn’t allowed to play music in the house, so we recorded [some music videos] with his local friends and fellow musicians in a natural amphitheatre carved out by a waterfall in a dry gorge.” Traditional musicians relegated to outdoors practise by unimpressed family patriarchs? Now that’s authentic.

Pick of the tracks on the Imanaren is “The Flowering of the Wise”, sung in Tashelhit ("Taldrar N Lawlia"), with spacey, haunting banjo. The track is getting some great exposure on YouTube and being listened to far beyond the shores of Morocco. The use of banjo is interesting, as it is certainly not a Berber instrument. However,back in the 1970s Morocco’s super-group, Nass El Ghiwane,made it widely popular. Group leader, Hassan Wargui, was obviously impressed and as a young boy built his own banjo and taught himself to play.

You can read the full David Maine review on Popmatters.com
Another interesting Beyond Digital interview

Purchase the album: - click on image
or download mp3 of The Flowering of the Wise


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