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The Music of Islam, Volume 7

CH 13147CD CH 13147CD

"North Africa became the stronghold of Arab-Andalusian music after the fall of Granada in 897/1492, yet the existence of the nubah (plural nubat, literally rotation or succession) system in Morocco can be traced back earlier, to at least the XI/12th century. Much of the repertoire has been lost over the years, and different areas preserve different nubat. In Morocco today, there are at least two distinct styles of Arab-Andalusian music, al-Ala, which is the most prevalent one across the country, and Gharnati, specific to Oujda in eastern Morocco and to Tlemcen in Algeria. These traditions are considered to be Morocco's classical musical hertiage. The repertoire of the al-Ala today is highlighted in this volume. It consists of eleven nubat which were standardized in the late XII/18th century. A nubah is divided into five sections, each corresponding to a particular mizan -- rhythmic pattern. Within each of these rhythmic phases, there is a slow and a fast version of each mizan. A nubah is actually never performed in its entirety, for this could take over six hours. Each Moroccan nubah contains between 95 and 153 songs and instrumental pieces. The layout of the nubah functions more as a matrix of possible performance choices than as a plan that must be adhered to. A typical nubah performance will consist of several pieces from a few different rhythmic phases. The musicians of the featured ensemble are ambassadors of this living tradition. Led by El Kacimi Mohamed, the ensemble uses traditional Arabic instruments. El Kacimi Mohamed plays the kamanja (violin), Ahmed El Kamas plays the 'ud (lute), Abdelkarim Doukhou plays the nay (flute), and percussionists Abdelilah Azlas and Mohamed El Rhouni play the darabukka (clay goblet drum) and tar (tambourine)."