Dancing Under the Moon

GB 126CD GB 126CD

Beautifully recorded in situ in the Rif mountains in the autumn of 2019, this 110-minute double-CD presents these legendary musicians expansively and unhindered. Based in Jajouka, Morocco, The Master Musicians are a collective of Jbala Sufi trance makers, committed to creating a contemporary representation of their centuries-old musical tradition. The album is produced by long-time band leader Bachir Attar, and with all but one of the tracks exceeding ten-minutes in length, it is clear that these recordings authoritatively grasp the textured essence of this timeless ensemble. Deeply hypnotic and earth-shakingly intense.

Text by acclaimed music critic Stephen Davis: "... The latest musical adept to turn inland at Larache, pass through Ksar, stop by the Tatoft caïd, and find the occluded road to Jajouka is the Italian musician and engineer Jacopo Andreini. In late 2019, as the planet was closing down, and as stories circulated about the musicians' vulnerability in today's world, Jacopo was hired by Bachir to make comprehensive recordings of the complete Jajouka music catalog. His mission, supervised by Bachir, was to record as much as possible -- hours and hours over the course of a week -- of Jajouka's varied styles (anthems, flutes, violins, singing) in their tin-roofed madrassa, using the latest sound gear -- eons away from Brion Gysin's 1955 reel-to-reel Uher machine. This selection of tracks from these sessions is the latest testament to the mystic enchantment and spiritual worth of Jajouka, captured in audio fidelity of the highest degree. The double-reed rhaita music recalls that Jajouka once provided musicians to Morocco's royal court. 'Khamsa Khamsin (The 55)' and 'Opening the Gate' are themes once deployed to accompany the Sultan to the mosque, and back again, as early as 1912 and before. The acoustic and percussive fiddle songs called Jibli ("mountain music") are typical of what is played for visitors to Jajouka after a savory evening meal of couscous and tagine. These songs are descended from Andaluz music, the millennium-old melodies of Moorish Iberia. Jajouka, its musicians, and traditions are indeed vulnerable and in transition in this rapidly changing era. It is lovingly curated projects like Dancing Under the Moon, plus the blessings of Baraka, and some luck and hard work by Bachir Attar and the current generation of the Master Musicians, that will hopefully see their ancient folkways survive into better times for everyone. Jajouka's is healing music for our viralized world."