“Whether one accords or denies esthetic value to Aili ya Mali, by any standards it is an extraordinary musical phenomenon. When I heard it through the headphones during the recording I was unaware of both its construction and its sound; it was not until I got back to Taza that night and played it that I was struck by the fact that it was completely unlike anything I had ever heard. (For a brief instant I was convinced that somehow I was listening to the tape running backwards; then I recognized the words of the repeated refrain: Chouf! Chni hiya?”* and realized that mechanically all was going along as usual.) the device of using a brass tray as a percussive instrument is not uncommon. (Intake number 4A a tray was struck with two small tea-glasses; this group in 4A was also from the Middle Atlas.
* “Chouf! Chni hiya? Look! What is it?”
Number 3, Ouakha dial Kheir, is another remarkable example of perfection in unison singing. The women sat like statues throughout the session, and did not vary their attitude of immobility even when performing this relatively vehement song.”
The Paul Bowles Moroccan Music Collection (AFC 1960/001), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., Courtesy of the Paul Bowles Estate and Irene Hermann / Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies