As expected there was a smaller crowd at Dar Tazi for the Sufi Night featuring the Mashishiyya brotherhood from Tangier. While well known and respected, they do not have a huge local following as do the Hamadcha. Nevertheless the performance was certainly worth attending. Phil Murphy reports.
The Mashishiyya Sufi order of Tangier draws its name from Sheikh Moulay `Abd as-Salam ibn Mashish (d. 1228), who taught Abu al-Hasan `Ali ash-Shadhili (d.1258). Ash-Shadhili went on to establish one of the most important Sufi lineages in North Africa. Both the Sharqawiyya and the Hamdushiyya trace their roots back to ash-Shadhili.
|Muhammad Said Achab (centre)|
Muhammad Said Achab directs the group and also serves as the lead vocalist. He told me that his group performs Sufi samā` consisting of poetry written by Imam Sheikh Alawi, Si Muhammad al-Harraq, and Said Achab’s own grandfather Si Muhammad Ziyan, among others. This poetry is interspersed with standard prayers to Allah and the Prophet, which are set to music. The Mashishiyya incorporate violin, lute, reed flute, and percussion in their performance of samā`. This is different from much of the samā` here in Fez which is performed without instruments.
Said Achab led the group in an opening chant, without instruments, before violin, lute and reed flute came in to accompany the group singing “Allah” over and over, the word stretched across a beautiful, Andalusian sounding melody. The percussion kicked in and the group launched into a series of lively songs. Said Achab sang lines from poems and the group sang refrains that were comprised of phrases like “Allah ya Mawlana” (God, oh our master), and la ilaha illa Allah (there is no god but God).
The crowd filtered in slowly tonight, but the garden in Dar Tazi was eventually full. Many local families lounged on the rugs and listened to the joyous, lively music. Just as in Andalusian music, the tempo increased as the songs progressed, and many people could be seen singing along, clapping, and rocking back and forth to the rhythm.
Tonight at 23h00 Dar Tazi - Wednesday 13 June
Darkawiya Brotherhood - Essaouira
Story and photographs: Phil Murphy
The Sufi Night reviews
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