Various Artists

Anthology of World Music: The Music of Islam and Sufism in Morocco

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This disc, another installment in Alain Danielou's vision, features the religious music of Islam in all its major forms in Morocco. As one would expect (and hope), the album starts out with the traditional adhan -- the call to prayer. This is one of the few forms of music allowed by the Islamic orthodoxy, though it is in general not called by "music." Following is a pair of tracks featuring other forms of endorsed "music": Qur'anic chants. These take place both in solo form and in a straining, heated group form. Following these endorsed forms, you hear three joined tracks from a ritual of the Hamadsha mystical brotherhood, which includes introductory forms and a trance dancing section (wherein the participants may beat themselves with clubs upon reaching a trance). A pair of smaller tracks follow which are used to awaken the faithful prior to dawn during Ramadan so that they might have a final meal before the daily fasting. The stunningly rhythmic work of the Gnawa brotherhood follows, featuring Brahim el Balkani (who has also worked with Led Zeppelin, among others) on gnbri. Finally, some light classical music is used, that while not necessarily religious by genre makes use of a religious poem for its lyrics. For a nice overview of the religious music of a vibrant country full of offshoots of Islam, pick it up. Extensive liner notes from Philip Schuyler add to the allure.

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