May 18, 2011

Something good will come to you

Jajouka is an ancient village perched above a long valley in the blue Djebala foothills of the Rif Mountains in northern Morocco. The village is home to the Master Musicians of Jajouka as well as the sanctuary of Saint Sidi Ahmed Sheikh, who came from the East around 800 AD to spread Islam to North Morocco.

The Master Musicians of Jajouka led by Bachir Attar, 1990
As founding members of the village of Jajouka, the Attar family maintains one of the oldest and most unique surviving musical traditions known on the planet. The music and secrets of Jajouka have been passed down through generations from father to son, by some accounts for as long as 1,300 years.

Brion Gysin, William S. Burroughs, Stephen Davis and other writers have connected elements of Jajouka’s musical traditions to Ancient Greek and Phoenician ceremonies. Burroughs famously dubbed the Master Musicians of Jajouka “A 4000 year old rock band.” However, he was likely connecting the unique rites of Boujeloudia, performed in Jajouka during the Aïd el–Kebir, to Lupercalia, the ancient Roman celebration, rather than precisely dating the origins of the music itself. Bachir Attar, leader of the Master Musicians of Jajouka, whose father, El Hadj Abdesalam el Attar led the group until his death in 1981, says the family’s most sacred compositions originated more than 1,000 years ago.

Although no one can say for certain exactly when the village was founded, all agree that Jajouka derives its baraka, or spiritual power, from the learned Saint Sidi Ahmed Sheikh, whose tomb is both the spiritual and geographic center of Jajouka. Most people who live in Jajouka are members of the Ahl Sherif tribe, which means “the saintly”. The musicians of Jajouka are taught from early childhood a complex music that is unique to Jajouka. After many years of dedicated training, the musicians may finally become Malimin or Masters. In the past, the Jajouka musicians numbered as many as fifty or more players at a time. However, not all musicians reach the level of Malim. Usually only a few great masters arise each generation to pass along the secrets to their sons and nephews. Much more...

Jajouka or Zahjouka is well known as home to two Sufi trance musicians groups, The Master Musicians of Jajouka led by Bachir Attar and the Master Musicians of Joujouka managed by Frank Rynne. The music from Jajouka attracted the attention of writers Paul Bowles and William S. Burroughs in the 1950s because the Sufi trance musicians there appeared to still celebrate the rites of the god Pan. Brion Gysin, who had been introduced to the master musicians by Mohamed Hamri, propagated this idea. Gysin linked the village's Boujeloud festival, where a boy sewn in goat skins danced with sticks while the musicians play to keep him at bay, to the ancient "Rites of Pan". In 1967 and 1968 Brian Jones, lead guitarist with The Rolling Stones, visited the village; at the end of his stay, he recorded the musicians for the LP Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka. The LP was released on Rolling Stones Records in 1971, some two years after Jones' death. The record was reissued in 1995 by Point Music. The music from this village attracted an influx of westerners, including some who later recorded there, such as Ornette Coleman and Bill Laswell.


Brian Jones Presents - The Pipes of Pan at Jajouka

The Master Musicians of Joujouka - Joujouka Black Eyes (Frank Rynne)


The Master Musicians of Jajouka Featuring Bachir Attar


Ornette Coleman - Dancing In Your Head


Master Musicians of Jajouka feat. Bachir Attar - Apocalypse Across The Sky
Thanks to anonymousremain

Image links.
Pass if there is one must be thegoodone.


  1. The image link for 'Joujouka Black Eyes' doesn't appear to be working. (the others are fine)

    Thanks very much!

  2. Thank you Barron, the link is fixed now.

  3. Hello! Thanks for that beautiful place dedicated to the true music of the world. Sure, no lacking of spirits & spices here! Peace.

    PS the link to 'black eyes' seems gone again. Is there some trolling in the air?

  4. Thank you Zardoz for complements, the link is fixed again, seams like somebody reported it, but whan can you do about it.

  5. Thx for your fixing, it works perfectly fine! Great music too, could listen to it all night long. Thanks again for the work you're doing here, I'm glad to have found you. Love O Earth too, another beautiful place which, like you, struggle to preserve the diversity of human mind.