Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Music of the Mineral Rich: North Africa

Because the Dark Continent had copper and gold
and the discoverers had themselves a plan.
They would discover all the places with promise.
You didn't need no titles or deeds.
You could just appoint people to make everything legal,
to sanction the trickery and greed.
And back in the jungle when the natives got restless
they would call that 'guerrilla attack'
and they would never describe that the folks finally got wise
and decided they would fight back.
And still we are victims of word games,
semantics is always a bitch:
places once referred to as under-developed
are now called 'mineral rich.'
And the game goes on eternally
unity kept just beyond reach
Egypt and Libya used to be in Africa,
                  they've been moved to the Middle East.

So sang Gil Scott Heron in Black History. And in the last two lines brings up that eternal conundrum…is Egyptian, Libyan, Moroccan and Algerian music ‘middle eastern’ or African?

As much as I love the song and Gil Scott-Heron (and I really love both), ultimately, the question doesn’t matter.  The music is simply great. Unlike the music of any other part of the Continent, the sounds of North Africa are dramatic and theatrical. And perhaps with the exception of South Africa, more overtly political than the other regions. 

There are lots of jewels in these discs: Algeria Mon Beau Pays; Yigui Youm; Aadrouni Ya Sadate and; Hagda.

Listen closely and savor.

         Track Listing (disc one):
         01 Algerie Mon Beau Pays (Algeria) [Slimane Azem]
02 Kifeche Rah (Algeria)[Dahmane El Harrachi]
03 Ghanili Chweyi (Egypt) [Oum Kalthoum]
04 Ya Mahfel Houche Khdija (Tunisia) [Raoul Journo]
05 Touche Mami Touche (Algeria) [Cheikha Rimitti]
06 Wahran El Bahyia (Algeria) [Blond Blond]
07 Yigui Youm (Egypt) [Farid El Atrache]
08 Ya Rabi (Algeria)[M'hamed El Anka]
09 Hirtou (Egypt [Mohamed Abdelwahab])
10 Jari Ya Hamouda (Tunisia) [Ahmed Hamza]
11 Y Bnet El Houma (Algeria) [Noura]
12 Sidi h'Bibi (Morocco) [Salim Halali]

         Track Listing (disc two):
         01 Hakmet Aliha Darouf [Abdelaziz Stati]
02 Azwaw [Chérifa
03 Chems Al Aâchia [Mohamed Bajdoub
04 Al Rissal [Abdelhalim Hafez]
05 Rouh Adhqimagh [Lounis Ait Menguellet]
06 Almihrab [Abdelwahab Doukkali]
07 Aàdrouni Ya Sadate [Reinette l'Oranaise]
08 Mahmouma [Nass El Ghiwane]
09 Tih El Téli [Hédi Habouba]
10 El Leila Ya Smara [Mohamed Mounir]
11 Rah El Ghali [Soulef]

         Track Listing (disc three):
         01 Shoufou [Hkim]
02 Nana Mazel [Cheb Mami]
03 Tebeg Rir [Takfarinas]
04 Hagda [Raïna Raï]
05 J'en Ai Marre[Najat Aatabou]
06 Bedeltini Bahiri [Khalas]
07 La Tchitchi [City 16]
08 Galou Hasni Mèt [Cheb Hasni]
09 Mériam Maria[Ouled Jouini]
10 La Camel [Cheb Khaled]
11 Anan Mélit [Orchestre Fayçal]
12 N'sel Fik [Fadela & Saharaoui]


Hammer said...

Oh, sheesh ya'll! That's a lot of artists in so small a place like north Africa.

Gil-Scott Heron was maybe right, but back at his time, Blackness was what all the hip people wanted to talk about. Nothing in Africa is actually African: the people there are of the same origin and oneness that unites them into our humanity, and yet separates them in the same vein of being so... similar yet different of skin. One can see this happening in other parts of the world like in India, where there is a strict 'casteism' of sorts. It's not about the skin, nah: it's all about what Gil himself wanted us to know about... this greed that has been poring into our very humane fabric. Oddly enough, this greed came from the side of the 'White Man' (simply, black activists called him the Man as we all know), and Egypt and Libya have more erm, white men than say Nigeria and Mozambique do.

Still, this is not the real question. The wars in Africa that took place between 1990-2000 were called by political writers, World War III! Almost 80 million Africans were killed in these ten years and in some parts still more are being killed. The question again is, I guess...


Thanks for this series of wonderful African music.
Ces't si bon!


ajnabi said...

Hammer, indeed.