Bachir Attar: rhaita, gimbri, flute
Mustapha Attar, Abdeslam el Moudene, Ahmed El Baloutti: rhaita, flute
Ahmed Bahkat: violin, percussion
Abdellah Bokhzar, Mohamed El Attar: percussion
Introduction to the Master Musicians of Jajouka led by Bachir Attar
As residents of the small village of Jajouka in the Djebala hills of Northern Morocco, the Attar family preserves one of the oldest known musical traditions on the planet. Recognized for their music by the Moroccan Royal family for centuries, by jazz masters, rock gods, respected writers and elite artists from all corners of the globe, it’s not the influence upon western culture that sets the Jajouka masters apart. It’s the highly complex rhythms and melodies they begin learning as children from their fathers, which if practiced for a lifetime, allows them to become true Malimin or Masters. These skills and secretes of the Master Musicians of Jajouka have been passed through generations and have endured through centuries of struggle.
"A 4,000 year-old rock'n'roll band.” - William S. Burroughs
The Master Musicians Of Jajouka became a counter-cultural icon when Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones confessed that even he had trouble standing up to “the constant strain of the festival” during the performances he recorded in their tiny village in the foothills of Morocco’s Rif Mountains. Their reputation was cemented when Rolling Stones Records released Brian Jones presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka in 1971, and that reputation continues today.
Tradition says that Jajouka’s music was a gift from Sidi Achmed Sheik, one of the first Islamic missionaries to visit the village and a revered saint whose tomb provides baraka, or healing spiritual power, to the villagers. This syncretic music may also be a survival of the worship of Pan and Astarte, and the rites of the ancient Roman Lupercalia. Each year, the goat-like Bou Jeloud emerges from his cave above the village, lured by the beat of drums and the blare of rhaitas (Moroccan double reed horns) to bring fertility to the village. Led by Bachir Attar, The Master Musicians of Jajouka continue to bring this ancient tradition into the 21st century. They’ve played all over the world, become the most recorded act in the Islamic world, appeared in multiple films, and welcomed a host of luminaries to their village – from Ornette Coleman and William S. Burroughs to Mick Jagger and Talvin Singh.
The Master Musicians of Jajouka play a variety of folk, ancient and newly written musical pieces on traditional, locally made instruments. Many of the compositions in their extensive repertoire are unique to the Attar family and their traditions in Jajouka. Boujeloudia, the rights of the “father of skins,” Boujeloud, is performed in the village during the week long festival during the Aïd el–Kebir. Hamza oua Hamzine, their oldest and most complex musical number, was played by the Jajouka Masters for the Sultan, both in his palace and on the battle field, for centuries. The Hadrasummons the spiritual energy of the holy saint buried in Jajouka, Sidi Ahmed Sheikh, who is said to have blessed the Attar family and their music with baraka and the power to heal people of mental and physical illness.