The Music of Islam Sampler (13159). In seiner aufwendigen Forschungsarbeit folgt David Parsons den vielfältigen Spuren der heutigen islamischen Musik zurück bis zu den Wurzeln. Das Ergebnis ist eine Produktion, die international Aufsehen erregte und 1998 den Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik erhielt: Auf insgesamt 17 CDs spielen und singen Gnawas und Derwische, Muezzins und Volksmusiker. Von Indonesien und Pakistan bis Tunesien und Südspanien reicht das geografische Spektrum, über 12 Jahrhunderte das historische. Zu jeder CD gibt es ein sehr informatives, etwa 50-seitiges Begleitheft (in englisch). Man kann die CDs einzeln oder als Gesamtpaket in einer Holzbox erwerben. Hier die Zusammenfassung der ganzen Serie. Ausgezeichneter Einstieg.

the project

Ten years in the making, The Music of Islam series recorded in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen, Pakistan, Indonesia, Iran and Qatar represents the most comprehensive sound documentation available to Westerners today, of a world religion dating back to 1/622. Although governed by strict rules for fourteen centuries, contact with other cultures has radically affected Islamic music throughout history. As the world enters the XV/21st century the timing of this collection serves an even larger purpose, documenting the traditions that have survived and will continue to survive for centuries to come. Today, one fifth of the world's population, one billion people, are Muslims, occupying a large territory stretching from the Atlantic shore of north and west Africa, through west, central, and south Asia to island southeast Asia, and attracting an increasing following in India, western Europe, north America, east Asia, and southern Africa. This is a global presence which cannot be ignored.

This volume features songs from various sections of the lila (music ritual) repertoire of the Gnawa. The Gnawa inhabit the same religious world as Arab Muslim Moroccans, yet find their entry into it via a different path. Instead of reciting prayers in preparation of trance ceremonies, the Gnawa's authority is invoked by recounting their people's experience as in Ulad Bambara (track 1). A long suite of songs, it opens with praise to God and the Prophet Muhammad and his daughter Lalla Fatima, but also refers to the Gnawa centers, including Marrakesh, as well as entreat the assembly to make pilgrimage to the local awliya' saints. Thus establishing the present location in Muslim Morocco, the song moves south and recalls the Gnawa's lands and people of origin as well as some spirits of West African origin and the abduction and transporting of slaves from the Sudan. The singing ends with the proclamation of faith and gives way to a series of dances. Singing in a call/response style—the lead singer being answered by other members of the group in chorus—the lead singer determines the length of sung portions, while the sintir signals changes in tempos or meter, announces new songs by switching the melody, and signals the ends of songs with cadential cues. The songs are flexible in length, allowing the leader to shorten or lengthen a song to accommodate the needs of dancers in trance.

the artists

Recorded in one of the most important artistic and cultural centers in the Islamic world, this volume features the music of the Gnawa, a distinct ethnic group of black Africans in Morocco, descendants of slaves from the western Sudan. With a distinct cultural heritage in the realms of music and religious ritual it is passed on by the religious brotherhood by the same name, Gnawa.

The Gnawa use three main instruments, which are particular to them: the sintir or hajhaj, a long–necked lute of the guinbri family; the qraqeb or qraqesh, a pair of hand held metal clappers; and the tbel, a barrel drum with two heads struck with sticks.

The featured musicians are associated with the Gnawa brotherhood in Marrakesh and perform at private ritual ceremonies as well as public functions of the brotherhood. Ahmed Baqbou, the sintir player, comes from a distinguished Gnawa family. His father was a Gnawa mcallem (a Gnawa master of yore). He is joined by Marchane Abdelkbir Lechhab the lead vocalist, and Kharmouss Mahdjoub and Hamzaoui Ahmed on percussion and vocals.


1 ULAD BAMBARA (The Sons of Bambara) 10'39"
3 'ADA 9'25"
6 YOMALA 5'58"
7 MIMUNA 6'31"
  Total Time: 61'26"