I’ll soon be posting some news about a forthcoming LP project I put together for Dust-to-Digital called “Kassidat: Raw 45s from Morocco.” In the meantime, to prime the pump and grease the wheels, I figured I’d do a post or two of Moroccan 78s. Morocco has an interesting diversity of folk music styles, most of which tend toward trance-inducing, hypnotic grooves. There’s the rwais (itinerant musical troupes from the Marrakech area), the female led ‘aita troupes of the central region, the Sufi village ensembles, the music of the Gnawa, Chaabi, and more. The gunbri is a lute that comes in several forms and is used in several of these genres throughout Morocco. The Gnawa are well-known for their large bass gunbri, while the rwais use a smaller, more banjo-like gunbri, sometimes called lotar. A third variety is used in central Morocco and the Rif mountains. It has a distinctive pear-shaped body, and is carved from a single block of wood. It’s often paired with the bendir, as in this recording, by the famous comedic duo of Kachbal and Zaroual. Moroccan music was widely recorded during the early 20th century, but this type of gunbri seems to have been rarely recorded during the 78 rpm era. It wasn’t until local record companies began to prosper after the country gained independence, in 1956, that many 45s of this type were released. In fact, Orikaphone was one of the first of these local Moroccan labels and this record was released on 45, as well as the 78 shown here.



Turkey is well-known for its classical art music developed during the Ottoman Empire. It’s impossible to deny the genius of classical musicians like Tanbûrî Cemil Bey, but I’ve always gravitated toward folk music. In Anatolia, the most popular folk instrument is certainly the bağlama, sometimes called saz (and not to be confused with the tiny Greek baglamas). The bağlama belongs to a family of string instruments used throughout the region; Syria, Kurdistan, Persia, and elsewhere. The instrument comes in many sizes, from the small cura to the enormous divan sazi. The instrument has seven strings, dived into 3 courses, the two highest courses have 2 strings, while the lowest course has 3. The tuning varies depending on the mode of the song, with the open strings acting as drones to emphasize the different characteristics of the mode.
Mucip Arciman was a folk musician from central Anatolia who became popular in the 1940s and ’50s.

20 From 2012 (CD)

20 from 2012_ShellacHead

2012 was a good year. I posted 20 sides here on ShellacHead, pretty much a whole CD worth of material. Jon Ward and I played some good stuff on the Gramophoney Baloney podcast back in September. I also completed two projects for the Dust-to-Digital label, both should be out in the first quarter of 2013 (more on those soon).
As 2012 draws to a close, I thought it might be fun to put together a selection of some of the records I’ve collected this year that have not been reissued on cd, as far as I know. So here it is, “20 from 2012,” a good old-fashioned mix tape type thing. Download the zipped archive (mp3s and a PDF), burn to cd, print the insert and stick it in one of those old jewel cases you’ve got lying around!

(Edit: This compilation is now available via Bandcamp for $1, more if you’re feeling generous!)

Download Here!

1. Leyenda India, Davila y Rodriguez  PUERTO RICO
2. Koulou Liladi, Cheikh Benoubia  ALGERIA
3. Mandolin & Harmonium Ghat, J.D. Marshal & H. Don Vincent  INDIA
4. Das Pintele Yid, Yenkowitz & Goldberg  NEW YORK
5. Lala Satane, Mabulukwe Anzima  SOUTH AFRICA
6. Tsifte Telli, Dimitrios “Salonikos” Semsis  GREECE
7. Seberu Beru, M. Legwara Kadipela  SOUTH AFRICA
8. Mabaad Ghachia, Cheikha Nejma Elouahrania  ALGERIA
9. Not Me , Denzil Laing Trio  JAMAICA
10. Tico Tico No Fuba, Sivuca  BRAZIL
11. Unidentified Iraqi Test Pressing,  IRAQ
12. Parachinka Kolo, Sava Jeremic  SERBIA
13. Keghetzig Erevan, E. Saaruni  ARMENIA
14. Ndamulombu, F. Gwenzi  MOZAMBIQUE/ZIMBABWE
15. Mal Ghusnil Dhahab, Mohamed Faris Alkhalifa  BAHRAIN
16. Lalla Aicha, Raisette Embarka  MOROCCO
17. Rakkosa Kiz, Inst. Group  UZBEKISTAN
18. La Pimienta, Tobias Plicet  PANAMA
19. Jamadal Bardas Aladat, Abdullah Jan  PAKISTAN
20. Cumbia Campesina, Los Corraleros De Majagual  COLOMBIA