1/  Baba L'Rouami                              (Public Domain)               3.05
  2/  Mimoun Mamrba                              (Public Domain)               5.12
  3/  Tramin                                     (Public Domain)               2.57
  4/  Chabako                                    (Public Domain)               6.27
  5/  Moulay Abdellah Ben Hassaine/              (Public Domain)               4.12
             Moulay Brahim
  6/  Toura Toura Tour Kelilah                   (Public Domain)               4.07
  7/  Baniya                                     (Public Domain)               5.59
  8/  Jillala                                    (Public Domain)               4.49
  9/  Said Fafy Drum Solo                        (Public Domain)               2.15
  10/ Toura Toura Tour Kelilah #2                (Public Domain)               3.12
  11/ Hamouda                                    (Public Domain)               5.57

          Recorded by Billy Youdelman in the Medina of Marrakesh, Morocco on
            an Akai ADAM Digital 12 Track
          Mixed by Bruce Calder at Soundtrack, NY
          Assistant engineer: Mike Fossenkemper
          Produced by Bill Laswell and Richard Horowitz
          Coordination and Production Assistance: Nicky Skopelitis
          Mastered at Masterdisk by Howie Weinberg
          Bandcamp re-release artwork by Yoko Yamabe @ Randesign
Mustapha Baqbou (1,5,6,8): sintir, vocals; Abdelhak Bou Naam (1,4,7,11): darbouka; Said Oughassal (1,2,4,7,9,11): vocals, sintir, oud, drums; Mahjoub El Khalmouss (1,6,8): vocals; Ahmed Hamzaoui (1): vocals; Abdelqader Oughassal (2,4,7,11): vocals, sintir; Abderrahim Oughassal (2,4,7,11): drums; Abdellatif Oughassal (2,4,7,11): qrakech; Abelmar Bou Naam (2): drums; Abdel Kbir Msolom (2,4,7,11): clapping, vocals; Brahim El Belkani (3,10): sintir, vocals, drums; Abbes Larfaoui (3): drums; Mahjoub Jaffer (3): drums; Samir Zougari (4,7,11): clapping; Aziz Radi (4,7,11): clapping, vocals; Mohammed Mslomi (4,7,11): vocals, clapping; Hassan Zougari (4,7): clapping, vocals; Abdenbi Binizi (4,7,11): clapping,vocals; Ahmed Mamzaoi (5): shaker; Abdel Kbir Mershan (6,8): sintir, vocals; Mbarrek Ben Othane (6): vocals; Mohammed Qrifli (8): vocals; Said Fafy (9): drums; Mahjoub Methoum (10): qrakech, vocals; Rachid El Belkani (10): clapping.

          1990 - Axiom/Island (USA), 539 881-1 (vinyl)
          1990 - Axiom/Island (USA), 539 881-2 (CD)
          2016 - Bill Laswell Bandcamp (digital)
Note: Bill Laswell does not play on this album.


As Paul Bowles states in his liner notes, the music of the Gnawa (Malinese slaves brought to Morocco in the 16th century) is very different than most of what's heard in Morocco. Indeed, there's a healthy strain of the kind of vocal and percussion styles heard in the Gnawa's West African homeland on this fine collection. And even though the Middle Eastern darbouka drum is occasionally used and the language sung in is Arabic, the predominant sound comes from large, deep-toned drums called the tbola (akin to the talking drum of Ghana) and from the chorus of singers heard on half the cuts (the harmonies produced being similar to those in both traditional and popular West African song). Sounding like a cross between the oud (the Middle Eastern predecessor to the lute) and the West African kora, the upright string instrument the sentir musically fuses the two cultures. Musicology aside, this Bill Laswell-produced recording is a must for fans of both African and Middle Eastern music. Half the pieces feature lead and group singers in call and response mode buoyed by a full compliment of sentirs, drums, hand clapping, and qrakechs (finger cymbals made from sheet metal). The other portion includes both drum features and sentir and vocal pieces. A great collection.

4 1/2 stars out of 5

Stephen Cook (courtesy of the All Music Guide website)