Exclusive stream: Master Musicians of Jajouka with Medeski Martin and Wood, “Hand of Fatima” (2013)

The story of the Master Musicians of Jajouka is one of the most intriguing stories in music, and also quite possibly the longest-running one. This exotic music originating from a small village in the Rif mountains of Morocco is a tradition that has been literally been handed down from generation to generation for some 1,300 years. The music has entranced Westerners who have come across this remote berg in northern Morocco, from William S. Burroughs to Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones to Ornette Coleman.

Jones and Coleman made recordings with the Masters, and now Billy Martin — of Medeski, Martin & Wood fame — takes his turn honoring on record the world’s oldest continuing musical troupe. Bachir Attar has led the Master Musicians since 1981 and Martin had befriended him and immersed himself with Attar’s music. The Jajouka tribute album he produced is truly special in that the music of the Master Musicians are supplemented by performance of Western “masters” either via remixes of original Jajouka recordings or entirely new performances of these ancient songs.

One of these ancient songs is “Hand of Fatima,” presented here as an advance exclusive stream. It features MMW, Marc Ribot on guitar and banjo and Attar on lira (a type of bamboo flute) and poetry. MMW supplies the groove, Ribot offers an exotic cross between the blues and the Barbary Coast, while Attar brings the trance:

[Stream removed; CD and mp3’s now available for sale]

The Road To Jajouka, A Benefit Album, as this project is called, exists not only to introduce the music of the fabled village to a wider audience but also for the benefit of The Jajouka Foundation, and 100% of the profits from the sale of the album will go toward it. The guest performer list is mind boggling to any fan of experimental and progressive jazz music: Medeski, Martin & Wood, John Zorn, Coleman, Flea, Ribot, Bill Laswell, Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth and more.

The Road To Jajouka goes on sale September 10, by Howe Records. Visit The Road To Jajouka‘s Facebook page for more info.

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S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron