Sonic Collective Sounds of Drâa Valley, Morocco

Sonic Collective Sounds of Drâa Valley, Morocco

Sonic Collective collaborated with producers, field recordists and composer/performers Susie Ibarra and Jake Landau to record a collection of percussion, flute and strings from 5 traditional artist groups from the Southern Drâa Valley. These groups feature Def, Akalal, Ganga, Hassani, Gnawa and Desert Blues. Produced in collaboration with Joudour Sahara Music Program, Playing for Change Foundation, and Aziza Chaouni Projects, the collection of sounds was recorded in M'Hamid El Ghizlane, the last oasis in the Southern Draa Valley of southeastern Morocco.

"The Southern Drâa Valley, because of its liminal localization at the crossroads of ancient caravan routes and at the edge of the Sahara desert, has a unique cultural heritage, is influenced by Sub-Saharan, Arabic and Amazigh traditions. A key stop along the salt and gold caravan routes, M’hamid for centuries has seen bands of nomads from Senegal, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Algeria, and further east from the Arab world not only pass through on their way to Marrakesh to bring gold from Timbuktu and goods from other areas, but settle within the oasis of the Drâa River as it provided opportunity to build a livelihood around the plentiful date palm trees."

"The traditional songs of the Drâa Valley are a result of the harmony between civilization and nature that characterize culture of the oasis, in which the harshness of the surrounding landscape and climate is counterbalanced by a collective management of natural resources, the efficient cultivation of arable land, and caravan trade. For several centuries, the Drâa Valley has played a central role in Moroccan cultural life, since it was the crossroad of Islamic civilizations coming from the Arab world, western civilizations coming from the Nord, and African civilizations coming from the South." - quote from

The Joudour Sahara Music Program is a NGO in M’hamid El Ghizlane whose mission is to preserve and promote the rich cultural and environmental heritage of the Draa River Valley. Joudour Sahara reaches more than 200 traditional musicians, 100 youth, and engages dozens of farmers in the region for a holistic approach to cultural and environmental conservation.

Akalal and Def Ensembles:
Larbi Elkalmouni - Def Drum
Elmahjoub Kadiri - Sif (Sword)
Ahmed Zouaoui – Raiss
Abdelaziz Elkhadiri - Def Drum
Mohamed Daamach - Def Drum
Elhachmi Fitah - Def Drum
Ali Kalamouni - Vocals and Chiekh
Boussedra Elafouri - Tara (Large Frame Drum)
Mohamed Elallaouy - Def Drum
Saddik Kadouri - Ney (Flute)
Brahim Eladoumi - Vocals , Tara (Large Frame Drum) and Chiekh
Mohamed Elafouri - Def Drum
Larabi Amallaz - Tareja (Clay Pot Drum)
Mohamed Amallaz - Tareja (Clay Pot Drum) and Vocals

Ganga Ensemble:
Salahdine Elberkaoui - Krakab (Metal Percussion)
Faraji Salmi - Krakab (Metal Percussion)
Masoud Mahjoubi - Dandoun (Large Drum)
Blall Ait Hda - Dandoun (Large Drum)
Mohamed Erriadi - Krakab (Metal Percussion)
Hamdi Fatihe - Dandoun (Large Drum)
Boujemaa Zaid - Dandoun (Large Drum) and Vocals
Mohamed Elberkaoui - Vocals and Raiss (Thomas , What is this ?)
Jouad Elberkaoui - Krakab (Metal Percussion)

Azeddine Ait Faraji - Guembri (Bass Stringed Instrument)
Mimoun Ait Faraji - Krakab (Metal Percussion)
Elmokhtar Ait Faraji - Krakab (Metal Percussion)
Brahim Benarbi - Krakab (Metal Percussion

Hassani Trio:
Mbarka Mounija - Clapping
Laatiga Laatig - Tabal (Small Hand Drum)
Sidi Ahmed - Tidinit (Stringed Instrument)

Desert Blues:
Naji Alamrani - Acoustic Guitar
Rachid Berazougui - Acoustic and Electric Guitar
Kasam Jardouj - Acoustic Guitar
Mohamed Saber - Djembe

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