Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Yal

We can be succinctly described with the sound "Duh!", as far as our knowledge of things musical go. We are known widely to be tone-deaf, and manifestly devoid of iotae of that slippery quality, "good taste". We first heard The Beatles in 1996, and our all-time favourite album (rock and roll) continues to be Abbey Road. For this, many a time, we have been the stork (laughing). Hitherto, we have largely relied on more qualified and fortunate people to provide us with the gyaan necessary to have a non-paleolithic musical conversation ("Nahin yaar, 'Chura ke dil mera, goriya chali' mein Ayesha Jhulka nahin hai bey, tuu 'Gutar gutar' ki soch rahaa hai.").

It was such a one who once wandered over into the Virgin Megstore on Newbury Street, in the company of roomies, who were both vastly more qualified and talented. As we stood about and gazed vacuously at the stud in Christina's belly-button, in the distance, we descried said roomies standing at one of those music-listening-station thingumajigs, apparently having a good time. We trundled over, accepted headphones, and plonked them on melon. What was playing was incomprehensible, but utterly captivating and foot-tapping. We bought the CD, and recently dug it up from amongst the debris at home.

First, there was Raï. A form of folk music that originated in Oran from Bedouin shepherds, Raï (which means "opinion" in Arabic) mixed with Spanish, French, Arabic and other forms of music to give rise to its modern version. Among the more famous practitioners are Cheb Mami and Khaled (who obsessed about his elder sister and even wrote a very popular song about her).

Be that as it may, even as Rai was making waves around the world, unbeknownst to many, the improbably named Takfarinas was
...forging his own sound, a sort of musical esperantos deriving from the Kabyle songs of the last century. He named it "Yal music" after the rhythmic vocalized syllable "yal...laaa yal...lalala," which is inseparable from Kabyle song...
So Takfarinas' YAL was the CD that we bought many aeons ago, on a whim, and lived to not regret it. You can listen to samples on the Barnes & Noble website, and his most famous and excellent song Zaama Zaama (oddly enough very Rai-ish) is the one that had us foot-tapping on Newbury. The original Takfarinas was apparently some kind of Berber cheftain, who dished out an uncommon defeat to the Romans around 25 B.C. There is a review of the album at popmatters.com, and the CD should be easily available in the West.

"Yal" has a most unique sound, and it will surely appeal to desis, on account of its fusion of a relatively melody-centric North African art form, with what can concisely be described as dhingchak dhingchak.

With that, Secoues-toi comme si comme ça, zaama zaama C´est bon ! tu aimes ça, zaama zaama...

3 comments:

BoFi said...

Er...your blog appears to not have an RSS feed...please please please turn it on!

Ludwig said...

[bofi] Dear fellow, we are somewhat illiterate in these matters. As of today, we have turned on something (AtomFeed?) at the blogger.com settings. Does this not suffice? Pray, enlighten. You're the second person this week to ask for this...

BoFi said...

Oh goody...that's perfect!
Thank yous kind Ludwig