Performers: Maalem Taieb ben Mbarek and Cheikhats
Recorded by Paul Bowles
At Marrakech, Morocco
November 1, 1959
The querulous (and sometimes even despairing) sound of Haouziya music is belied by the ecstatic expressions on the faces of those singing and playing it; there is an enormous disparity between the way they sound and the way they look. These singers were perfectly obedient about standing where I asked them to. After each piece, however, they insisted on returning to the positions they had been assigned by the Maalem, so that there was a continuous coming and going after and before each number. Maalem Taieb ben Mbarek was the most exacting of all the musicians I had to deal with when it came to play-backs. Generally, the musicians were, to all appearances content to hear perhaps half of each number; Maalem Taieb insisted on hearing everything from the beginning to the end. If I skipped even the first note or drum beat he complained. Sometimes he wanted to hear certain sections twice. Sessions with him took a good deal of time. Fortunately the U.S.I.S in Marrakech, where they took place at night after closing hour, assigned people to stay on until whatever hour we happened to finish.
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.