Arabic roots, European influences
Ibn Báya with Omar Metioui and Eduardo Paniagua
Núba al-Máya: Música Andalusí
Cantoras de Tetuán: Cantos tradicionales de mujeres del norte de Marruecos
L'Ensemble Aromates, with Michèle Claude
Jardin de Myrtes: Mélodies andalouses du Moyen-Orient
Karim Baggili Quartet
Cuatro con Cuatro
The Conservatory of Music in Tetuán, founded in 1944 under the Spanish Protectorate a decade prior to Moroccan independence, has played a key role in training in and documentation of the vocal traditions of northern Morocco. Regional vocal styles reflect a centuries-long intersection of Andalusian, Levantine and Berber traditions. Cantoras de Tetuán compiles nine critical historical recordings from the 1960s, presenting the work of several master female singers, including Mnnána I-Jarráz, Alia I-Myáhed, Zohra Bttíwa and Pliyka y Sham d-Dhá. The women perform in full string orchestra settings, covering a repertoire associated with a time in which women and men were separated in virtually all public settings. Hence, this is music performed by women for women; only in the 1970s did this separation of the sexes begin to diminish, so the songs heard here are of particular interest insofar as they resonate within a particular moment in Moroccan social history. Digital remastering can achieve only so much with original recordings whose condition were reportedly not the best, but technical limitations cannot mask the patent artistry of this release. Anyone interested in the history of Moroccan music and the emergence of popular forms from older traditional genres will discover much here. Notes (written by Paniagua and Metioui, delineating the classical, folk and popular genres essayed herein) are in Spanish and English, with lyrics in Spanish and Arabic.
Led by Michèle Claude, L'Ensemble Aromates is a classically trained Parisian octet (flute, violin, viola da gamba, vièle à archet or bowed lute, colascione or medieval Italian long-necked lute, bass, èpinette or plucked dulcimer, psaltry, psaltérion or ancient Greek harp, and a range of North African percussion). They perform the music of Moorish Andalusia (711-1492), here the repertoire of Ziryab, a legendary ninth century poet, composer, musician and singer who, after being freed from slavery, traveled from Baghdad to Cordoba in 822 to become a musician in the court of Abd ar-Rahman II. The odd time signatures and delicacy of execution conjure up an enticing sonic domain that gracefully explores the deeper connections between Arabic, European classical and Levantine traditions, as they worked themselves out in Moorish Iberia. Of particular interest to some will be "Démarche voluptueuse/Espris d'une gazelle" and "Une nuit si longue," fascinating essays on the transatlantic connections between Andalusia and Cuba, the latter number practically an oriental charanga. Claude closes with one of her own compositions, "Minimaroc," a habanera inspired, she says, by Bizet, Ravel and Satie, and an illustration of how profoundly Arabic music has influenced its Western European counterparts. Notes are in French and English.
CDs available from cdRoots
Cantoras de Tetuán
Karim Baggili Quartet
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