So it didn't take quite as long as I expected to get around to uploading the recording from this afternoon in the studio with Mohammed Essousi. Here's a link, although the parade of photos were at his request...
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Earlier this week, I was invited to a wedding, an American man (whom I had never met) marrying a Fessi woman (whom I had also never met). I declined the offer from a mutual friend and well-known local Hamadsha musician. Yet I did go with him as he waited for it to start. We sat at a café and he called one of his friends.
|Mohammed Sousi (right) and Abd an-Nabi, the first upright bass player I've spoken with in Fez. He let me touch it. I miss bass.|
The singer invited me to his house a few days later, asking me to bring my fiddle along. After a long, pleasant walk through my old neighborhood (where I lived in 2006), I found him at an imposing, shiny, oversized café. He grabbed my arm, pulled me along the road reminding me to remember the route, so I can find it again without his help next time. I had to prove my memory to him when we arrived by drawing up a quick map in my notebook. I had passed my first test.
|Even in the studio, you're surrounded by the ubiquitous Moroccan tea.|
The building had the sense of being just a nudge or two above not-quite-official. Wood paneled walls, oddly arranged rooms, and a general no-longer-white coloration consumed the place. Suddenly, though, the group kicked into gear and they were off. Everyone knew the song, no discussion of form or key, and the communication between musicians added to the lively beat. I made a recording myself, using my pocket-sized gadget, which I will hopefully post someplace useful online in the coming days. It's worth the listen.
|Mohammed Sousi at his home showing of a recent gift. Someone had written a favorite poem on an animal skin and framed it.|
The afternoon concluded with a return to the recording studio where Mohammed and some of the girls from his ensemble were doing a series of interviews for a local radio problem. I sat with them, understanding the words but not the context, and before I knew it, I was being asked questions about myself, working in Morocco. Yet, instead of discussing music or my work, I was thrown off-guard with a series of interrogations on my favorite Moroccan food. In the moment, of course, I couldn't think of lamb with prunes, and so I just fumbled like a fool, trying to reconcile the situation with my complete surprise. But hey, now I'll be on the radio. Luckily, it'll be at 9am on a Saturday, when hopefully no one is paying attention.
Tomorrow's another day, we'll see where we end up, yes?
|As an unrelated aside, headlamps are in. Seems that were the only folks that we know who don't have them. We're stuck living with these two.. Matt and Mitch are our roommates in the new house. Say hi.|