Jajouka is the name of a hidden village in the Jebala foothills of northern Morocco. You won't find it on any roadmap. But Jajouka is the home of the tribe Ahl Serif, sometimes translated as The Saintly, because they are descended from an Arab healer called Sidi Hamid Sheich, whose shrine the Ahl Serif hold sacred. The tribal musicians' fame derives from their preservation of music whose origins go back to antiquity. William Burroughs called The Master Musicians of Jajouka "the four thousand year-old rock and roll band."
The Master Musicians of Jajouka have been recorded many times over the years, often in collaboration with artists as diverse as Ornette Coleman and the Rolling Stones, and this new album, Dancing Under the Moon, sounds like their finest ever.
In late 2019, as the planet was closing down, and as stories circulated about the musicians' vulnerability in today's world, Italian musician and engineer Jacopo AndreinI was hired by Bachir Atar to make comprehensive recordings of the complete Jajouka music catalogue. His mission, supervised by Bachir, was to record as much as possible – hours and hours over the course of a week – of Jajouka's varied styles (anthems, flutes, violins, singing) in their tin-roofed madrassa, using the latest sound gear – eons away from Brion Gysin's 1955 reel-to-reel Uher machine.
This selection of tracks from these sessions is the latest testament to the mystic enchantment and spiritual worth of Jajouka, captured in audio fidelity of the highest degree.