Gnawa Show at the Fulbright Symposium

Every year the Moroccan American Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange (aka MACECE) hosts a 3-day conference to bring together all the Fulbrighteres in the country to present their findings. After opening remarks by US Ambassador Samuel Kaplan and his wife Sylvia, we heard from professors, students, and visiting scholars, on a variety of subjects ranging from Maghrebi conceptions of citizenship, to religious rhetoric during the Spanish Civil War, to the Equity and Reconciliation Commission established to address injustices from the Years of Lead, to the new generation of hip hop artists in Casablanca. As for my own presentation: New Perceptions of Gnawa: Reassessing Tagnawit (Authenticity), I faced a dilemma of sorts. How do I go about talking up saints and rituals without angering the spirits? So, I decided to model my 15 minutes of Fulbright fame after a Lila, complete with music and dance by none other than Nacim Haddad and Zakaria Aktoui. As tradition dictates, we began with songs from Awlad Al-Bambara, and ended with Aisha Qandisha. Check it out. I’ve included a 2-minute recap of my slides (with music) and I’ve paired the performances with transliterated/translated lyrics below:

The Presentation in a nutshell:
http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=13299019&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=00ADEF&fullscreen=1

Moulay Hamid:
http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=11966404&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=00ADEF&fullscreen=1

Moulay Hamid
Wali Moulay Hamid, Ay sharifi Moulay Hamid / Oh Wali Moulay Hamid, Oh Illustrious Moulay Hamid
Aya rakib ala ruqsha . . . di aghli was imsha . . . / He rode in, took my mind, and departed
Allah hababa . . . Allah sidi . . . al wali Moulay Hamid / Dearest of God, Man of God, Wali Moulay Hamid
B’ismilla bash b’deet, ala Nabi saleet . . . / In the name of God I begin, blessings upon the Prophet
(Freestyle)

Aisha Qandisha:
http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=11230434&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=00ADEF&fullscreen=1

Aisha Qandisha
Aisha Aisha, Aisha Washwisha, Aisha Hamdishiya / Aisha aisha, Little Aisha
Sakin al jbal, Sakin al widan, Moul al saba’at alwan/ Residing in the mountains, in the rivers, master of the 7 colors
Saadi bi walidaty, kharijaat talaba . . . / I’m happy for my children, they’ve graduated learned students
(Freestyle)

Other songs performed (videos to follow!)

Bu Lila
Kalkani Bu Lila . . . Ah Bu Lila . . . Allah yarham Bu Lila / Tell me Father of the Night
Allali . . . Kalkani . . . Gooliya gooliya . . . / Tell me, Tell me
Gooliya ala Sudan . . . Gooliya ala akhbaru . . . / Tell me about Sudan, Tell me about the news there
Al ma’ata Allah . . . Al ma’ata Allah . . . / God is the decider of fates
Sudani . . . Housa . . . / Tell me about the Sudanese, and the Housa
Tinktu . . . Ay Bu Lilla . . . Allah yarham Bu Lila . . . / and of Timbuktu, God’s Mercy on Bu Lila
Allali . . . Ja’abuna Ja’abuna . . . / They brought us, they brought us
Ja’abuna min Sudan . . . Ja’abuna fil khanashi . . . / They brought us from Sudan, they brought us in sacks
Ja’abuna al kaffara . . . Shi rakib shi mashi . . . / The unbelievers brought us, some rode, some walked
Farghooni ila ma . . . Farghooni ila hibabi . . . / They separated me from my mother, from my loved one
Ay Bu Lila . . . Allah yarham Bu Lila . . . / Oh Father of the Night, God’s mercy upon you
Bangoro
Bangoro Bangor Allakobar / Bangoro Bangor, God is Great
Al walideena Bangoro Bangor, al Salehin Bangoro Bangor / To our parents, to the
Fayfro . . . Kanobarko . . . / (Not in Arabic)
Allakobar . . . Sooyeh . . . / God is Great, (Ancient Bambarab word for God)
Wa Moulay Idriss . . . Oh karamdheyfa . . . / Oh Moulay Idriss, Oh Dear Guest
Oh Gnawa uwaleena . . . Allah yarhamhu . . . / To the first Gnawa, God’s mercy upon him
Wa M’allem Sam . . . Allah yarhamhu . . . / and to Master Sam, God’s Mercy upon him
Oh Sidna Bilal . . . Allah yarhamhu . . . / and to our Master Bilal, God’s Mercy upon him
Oh Hamid Bousou . . . Allah yarhamhu . . . / Oh Hamid Bousou, God’s Mercy upon him

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