Fragmented Frequencies March 2016

I first discovered Paul Bowles via his associations with the Beats in Morocco. He was the dapper guy in the suit posing in pictures with Ginsberg and Burroughs in Tangier in the mid 50’s. It turns out he was a writer and composer himself, most famously his novel Sheltering Sky became a 1990 Bernardo Bertolucci film, though this American in exile spent the last 50 years of his life in Tangiers, writing novels like The Spider’s House and Let it Come Down that provide an amazing insight into Moroccan culture. In 1959, armed with a grant from the Library of Congress and some tape machines he embarked on 4 trips throughout Morocco in order to capture the folkloric music of the country. In less than 6 months he gathered hundreds of recordings of the tribal Berber music of the mountains and Arabic music of various incarnations from the Sahara to the coast. On April 1st Dust to Digital are releasing 30 tracks over 4 cd’s with a 120 page book featuring Bowles field notes and an introduction from Lee Ranaldo. Music of Morocco: Recorded by Paul Bowles is an incredible document of a moment in time, highlighting the diversity of this remarkable country. Bowles was no ethnomusicologist, so would record only what and how he liked, though he was determined to capture as much as possible before it disappeared forever. This is joyous life affirming, often ceremonial music, featuring horns, hand percussion, chants, flutes, handclaps, and it will blow your mind.