40B: "Hattan Ana Manarfou and Amrani" (Music of the Haouz)
1959 October 28; Video 2019
Performers: Maalem Taieb ben Mbarek and Ensemble
Recorded by Paul Bowles
At Marrakech, Morocco
October 28, 1959
Now and then, when it was possible, I consulted with the leader of a group and got him to reseat his musicians or change the microphone's position relative to them, so that the sonority might more nearly approximate the sound desired by him in his music. At the outset of this session I had not realized that the haouziya was primarily a percussive genre, and kept making attempts to get more voice. But each time the voices sang louder, the percussion increased its volume as well, so that the possibility for the balance I thought I wanted was automatically precluded. When the Maalem tried the headphones and listened to his men, he looked both personally satisfied and at the same time mystified by my objections to the sound. "It's good this way," he said. "It's always this way." "But you can't hear their voices," I objected. "You can hear them enough," he answered. "You can hear everything just enough." I desisted until the last number, when I got everybody out into the patio and gave specific instructions to the drummers not to do more than tap their tarijas. They looked doubtful, but did as I asked, and the result (41A) I still prefer to the other three pieces which were recorded as the Maalem desired them. In Amrani, the second selection on this tape, the Maalem decided to take up a kamenja, and it is his playing (as a solo instrument) which is heard here, the other kamenja remaining silent.
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.