Located on the Atlantic Coast approximately 90 km south of the capital city Rabat, Casablanca is the largest city, not only in Morocco, but the Maghreb. It is the nation's chief port, and the business and financial center of the country.
Originally known as Anfa, the city of Casablanca started out as a small settlement. It was renamed Casa Branca by the Portuguese who took control of the city in 1468 CE/872 AH. They rebuilt the city and changed its name to "Casa Branca" Like Casablanca, a term that came into use when Portugal became part of the Spanish Kingdom, it means "White House." In 1755/1168 AH the city was largely destroyed by an earthquake and abandoned by the European population. It was rebuilt by Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah, during whose reign the harbor became essential to sugar, tea, wool, and other trade. From 1912 to 1956 the city was part of the French Protectorate, who continued to use the Spanish name. The first governor, Marshal Lyautey developed the ambitious plan to may the city the economic capital of Morocco. In 1953 Michel Écochard devised a linear extension plan that would stretch between the ports of Casablanca and Mohammedia.
The low buildings of the medina contrast starkly with the skyscrapers of the new city. According to the World Population Review, the 2015 population of the city itself was significantly over 3 million, with the population of the metropolitan area being estimated at approximately 5 million.
2A. Moha ben Driss and Ensemble. (El Hajeb, Middle Atlas, Beni Mitr Tribe) Abou ou Harrak
Recorded in Aïn
Diab, Morocco on August 1, 1959 by Paul Bowles
comprised six men and twelve women. The leader of the group, (who should rightly be called Cheikh Moha ben Driss, save that he never referred to himself as Cheikh) played no
and occasionally clapped his hands. The other
men sang and played on
benadir, with the exception of the kamenja player, who did not sing.
The selection begins ith a female voice singing a solo of four strophes, (the mouwal). This is followed by a short kamenja solo stating the theme, which is then taken up by male voices. (The kamenja was a violin, rested on the knee and played upright like a viola da gamba.)
The point where the dance begins is in idated by the kamenja, which bids the singers to be silent, and takes over by itself, accompanied only by the benadir.
Source: Bowles, Paul F. "Ain ed Diab." in Folk, Popular, and Art Music of Morocco.
The Paul Bowles Moroccan Music Collection. Washington,
DC: American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, 1959-1962.
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