A Dip in the Ocean - The Moussem of Sidi Mustafa
Featuring the Andalus Orchestra of Tetouan. Director Sidi Muhammad Amin el-Akrami (violin) and the singers of Larache, Tetouan, Casablanca and Fez.
Classical Andalusi singing and instrumental music at its most ecstatic. These unrehearsed live recordings were made in the summer of 2001 in Larache, a small sea-side resort and fishing port on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. Sidi Mustafa Mesamri, a native of Larache and himself a singer invited some friends and acquaintances to a private celebration at his house. He tempted the best Moroccan singers and musicians he could find to a few days beside the ocean to relax and unwind. What you hear on these two CDs is part of the final night with some of the Andalusi Orchestra of Tetouan, accompanying a large group of singers from Larache, Tetouan, Casablanca and Fez.
The orchestra normally performs in formal concerts around Morocco and further afield in Europe but this was a night off for private entertainment. The first CD presents the unique combination of voices, two violins, and viola (played traditionally on the lap), qanun, rebab, oud, darbugha (hand drum) and tarr (small tambourine) accompanying the hadra, the dance of invocation well known in the zawiyyas of sufi orders in North Africa but also common at public events and weddings. The second CD is predominantly singing, hadra and percussion, finishing as on the first CD with the recitation of the Quran by Abu Bakr Siddiq, Imam and Hafiz from Ksar Kebir, a town nearby and is in traditional unique Andalusi style not heard outside North Africa. This style of recitation, singing and instrumental music has come down to us through an oral tradition dating back a thousand years to the royal courts of Cordoba. Even if the meaning of the words in inaccessable to the western listener the singing and music is universally understood. What is unusual on these recordings is the exuberant blend of pure Andalus and Gnawa rythms of Saharan Africa.