Gen's upcoming events and Misc.upcoming projects...

GENS MISC. UPCOMING PROJECTS: Heartworm Press are publishing “Collected Lyrics and Poems of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge – Volume One 1961 to 1971. Later they will publish Gen's first novel, written in 1969, “Mrs. Askwith”. Other books will follow.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

THE MASTER MUSICIANS OF JAJOUKA biogaphy posted on the offcial genesis p-orridge site circa sept 2001


The Master Musicians of Jajouka are an all-male group from the foothills of the Rif Mountains about a hundred kilometers south of Tangier, Morocco. Described by William S. Burroughs as "a 4000 year old rock 'n' roll band," they are born into a unique family of musicians who have received royal patronage for centuries. Exempt from all work except making music, the Master Musicians have done nothing else since birth. They are taught from a very early age by their Master Musician family to play an ancient music that is unlike any other. Their music possesses the power to heal, and they can communicate with the spirits of the hills and the flocks and most importantly the spirits of music. Two of the great influences on the Beat Generation, Brion Gysin, the painter and inventor, and Paul Bowles, the writer and composer, first heard the wild music of Jajouka at a festival in the summer of 1950. Gysin was entranced and determined to hear the music regularly, for the rest of his life. These were the days of the Inter-Zone, when Tangier was an international city, where anything could and did happen. In this adventurous climate, Gysin opened the now-legendary restaurant, The 1001 Nights, in the kasbah of Tangier, hiring the Jajouka musicians as the house band. However, it wasn't until after 1968 when Gysin brought his close friend Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones to Jajouka, that the sacred music was brought widely to the attention of the Western world. The Jajoukans musically recreated festival music from their most important religious holiday and Jones eagerly recorded seven hours of the captivating, complicated sounds. It was this festival that led Gysin to believe that there were connections between the ancient rites of Pan, the ancient Roman fertility festival of Lupercalia, and the local tradition in Jajouka of a young boy dressing as Bou Jeloud, the Goat God, Father of Skins, and dancing madly, whipping the villagers into a frenzy, and ensuring the health of the village for the coming year. Jones drowned a month after returning from Morocco and the album he recorded, Brian Jones Presents The Pipes of Pan at Jajouka, was released two years later, in 1971. Jones manipulated some of the recordings, using various psychedelic sound treatments, but left most of the music alone with its original haunting, penetrating authenticity. The release of "Brian Jones presents The Pipes of Pan at Jajouka" was very influential and led to scores of people visiting the village in the following years, including Ornette Coleman who recorded a track for his album "Dancing In Your Head" in the village. The music of Jajouka has always been highly respected and sought after by those living in the region. The Master Musicians were the Royal Court musicians for seven kings of Morocco prior to Morocco's occupation by France and Spain. Villagers come to Jajouka on pilgrimage, to visit the shrine of the holy man Sidi Ahmed Sheikh, who brought Islam to the valley centuries ago. Sidi Ahmed Sheikh also had the power to heal mental illnesses and he blessed the music of Jajouka with this same healing power and to this day, the Master Musicians along with the Holy Man in the village heal the mental illnesses of the people sent from surrounding villages.The Attar family, the keepers of the sacred music, are also the founding family of the village. They possess Baraka, or the blessing of Allah, which gives them the power to heal, and the endurance required to play some of the most intense and complex music around. This family, though under tremendous financial strain, still carries on the traditional rites to this day. The music of Jajouka uses a number of traditional instruments, including the rhaita (the Arabic version of the oboe), the lira (a bamboo flute), and the gimbri (a three stringed lute), along with double-headed Moroccan drums. The music is composed of several fairly simple parts, which are then intricately woven together in a way foreign to most Western ears, so that the resolution of individual phrases and sections can be difficult for outsiders to discern. The music can be extended indefinitely, and many performances last for days at a time, with some musicians taking breaks and others stepping in to take their place.Bachir Attar is the son of the late Hadj Abdesalam Attar, considered by many to be the greatest Moroccan musician during his time and who was the sovereign leader of the Attar clan and the Master Musicians of Jajouka. Bachir has inherited that role and is now responsible for the preservation of an endangered musical tradition, a tradition threatened by the Western world, where time and money take precedent over ritual and meaning. Bachir Attar has known since birth that he is the one with the Baraka, the one to carry on the tradition, and so he devotes his life to securing performances for the musicians and documenting the rich and fascinating history of his family.


Michael Barraco said...

This was a very interesting read. I'm in the middle of reading Brion Gysins' The Process, and this was great background information.

Anonymous said...

If you've ever been lucky enough (i.e. open minded & fearless enough) to get to that beautiful point of being able to see music this music is by far the best IME. It's absolutely astounding! A sense of the sacred definitely lies within.