Music of Morocco: Recorded by Paul Bowles, 1959
Originally released as 4 CDs in silkscreened box with 120-page, leatherette book, featuring extensive liner notes by Philip Schuyler. Field notes by Paul Bowles. Introduction by Lee Ranaldo. Box set includes download/streaming code.
This set is now available digitally as a 120-page PDF plus 30 recordings for a total run time of 4.5 hours of audio.
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
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