Boomkat Product Review:
Music of Morocco - From the Library of Congress is a treasure chest containing field recordings made by American author, composer and translator Paul Bowles during 1959; originally partly issued on 2LP in 1972, and now presented in typically exquisite style by Dust-To-Digital. For anyone with an interest in Arabic, North African musical traditions, or curious to the origins of the guitar or hypnotic Berber music, this is a total must have! Four CDs + streaming code. 120-page leatherette book with introduction by Lee Ranaldo, field notes by Paul Bowles, annotations by Philip Schuyler. Housed in deluxe, cloth-bound, silkscreened and foil stamped box.
“From July to December 1959, Paul Bowles crisscrossed Morocco making recordings of traditional music under the auspices of the Library of Congress. Although the trip occupied less than six months in a long and busy career, it was the culmination of Bowles’s longstanding interest in North African music. The resulting collection remained a musical touchstone for the rest of his life and an important part of his mythology.
“The pieces with the greatest, and those with the smallest amount, of Arabic influence, are both to be found, strangely enough, in the same country: Morocco. This region’s contact with Europe has been that of conqueror: in its decline it has been comparatively unmolested by industrial Europe. By virtue of this, also because it once had colonies in Mauritania and Senegal, and thus has a fair amount of admixture of Negro culture, it is richer in musical variety and interest than Algeria and Tunisia. In the latter countries there is plenty of music, but in Morocco music is inescapable.” — Paul Bowles”