"Public manifestations, of the Hamatcha 'Cult are strictly forbidden and have been for more than ' twenty years. Officially the cult no longer exists, and to obtain any documentation on it through the usual channels would be impossible. In 1931 I was present at several Hamatcha gatherings; it is understandable that the cult should have been persecuted and driven underground, since it is a cult of self-torture. (The men drive sharpened bones into their flesh, strike themselves in the head with hatchets, thrust skewers through their cheeks and arms, and so on, while the women spin in circles until they fall to ,the ground in a trance. Even the small children emulate the adults. There is a definitely repulsive side to the cult.)
Unsatisfactory though it is from a technical standpoint, the tape has a certain interest in that it was a stroke of great luck to be able to get it at all. The music was being played after midnight at a distance of at least a mile from the garden where I set up my equipment. The instrument is a long cane flute (qsbah). Exactly what drums were being used I can't say, but I imagine they were benadir.
Almost throughout the recording there is the sound of a bus, climbing slowly up the side of the valley."
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.