What Is It With Tangier?


We have not heard any of these recordings, but the last two paragraphs of this post have our attention fully focused and we look forward to the sound:

…I think Bowles would be deeply pleased by what Schuyler and Dust-to-Digital have done with his recordings, the way they’ve now been lovingly, responsibly repackaged. The music itself is frequently staggering: an eleven-minute recording Bowles made in Goulimine, a city in the southern lowlands, is one of the more beautiful examples I’ve heard of guedra, in which one male vocalist and a women’s chorus bang together on a twenty-eight-inch drum. It sounds, to me, like the story of time itself. Listening, I feel as if I am burrowing very deep into something. I start to know what Bowles meant about certain repetitive sounds being “the culmination of beauty,” a thing capable of thrusting a person into “a non-thinking state”—that blissful, elusive nowhere.

Still, the grandest point of closeness here is with Bowles himself, so long unknown, unknowable. Attempting to get nearer to a person by getting nearer to the things he or she cherishes is usually a thankless, humiliating path. But in seeing how Bowles experienced and loved Morocco—the parts of its native culture that reassured or completed him, the ways in which he fought to protect them, how it made him less lonesome—it is possible to understand something else about the ways in which we find and refashion home, elsewhere, outside ourselves, even when we thought home was impossible, even when we thought we’d likely lost it forever. How, in a moment—in a beat—it might appear again.

Read the whole post here.

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