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Morocco: Berber Music of the Atlas

The Essentials

Moroccan Berbers share a common passion for recited or sung poetry, as can be heard on these two CDs presenting the music of the Aït Bou Guemmez –a Chleuh group living in the highest inhabited valley of the High Atlas– and Les Musiciens de l’Atlas, who hail from the provinces of Beni-Mellal and Tinhir in the Middle Atlas. Aït Bou Guemmez: dances led by double clarinet, flutes, female songs, work songs, celebration drums. The Musicians of the Atlas Mountains: powerful songs, drums (frame, goblet or double-headed and hit with a stick) simple reed pipes played with the circular breathing technique, as is the ghaita oboe, as well as a three- or four- stringed lute called lotar lute, which brings to mind the nefer of Pharaonic Egypt.