the Aissoua Lila on Thursday night
in the home of the Muqaddim in the medina
recorded in Tangiers, Morocco
An excerpt from Paul Bowles' notes on a similar experience in 1959:
“When music lacks development of any kind it is monotonous, but in folk musics as basic as the Moroccan the matter of development is largely a question of occasion and the degree of musical togetherness achieved by the ensemble, rather than a quality inherent in the tradition. It is essential to distinguish between the static repetition and organic or deceptive repetition, in which the apparently reiterated rhythmical melodic or textural motif is a device for capturing the attention, the music’s ultimate aim being that of imposing itself totally upon the consciousness of the listener. In the latter case the psychological effect is not one of monotony, but rather one of hypnosis, and it then becomes clear that underneath the appearance of repetition there is variety in direction.
It is in this respect that the good Berber music excels. Much of it is incantatory in origin, a part of that important facet of daily living which has to do with magic, the casting of spells or the inducing of trances. Since its aim is to cause hypnosis, to be appreciated the music must be given the opportunity to hypnotize, and this requires listening to it in its entirety.”