Marchez Noir: Amazigh Kateb

Written by  January 4, 2012

Algeria’s Amazigh Kateb is a modern ambassador for trance-inducing Gnawa grooves.

Marchez Noir: Amazigh Kateb

Label: Iris Music

Algeria’s Amazigh Kateb is a modern ambassador for trance-inducing Gnawa grooves. Gnawa music is characterized by the guimbri (three-stringed lute), qraqabs (iron castanets), frenetic dancing and repetitive vocals. Marchez Noir (Walk Black) is brimming with pulsating rhythms and earthy vocals. The songs are not entirely traditional, but instead bridge the gap between traditional and modern Algerian society with electronic instruments and arrangements that don’t resort to techno or dance-club pitfalls. One of the highlights is a catchy reggae-tinged song called ‘Mociba,’ followed by a bluesy ‘Dounia,’ Balkan-infused ‘Bonjour’ and an enjoyable ‘Dima Ntou.’ The liner notes are in French and non-Romanized Arabic.

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Matthew Forss

Verge magazine's music columnist, Matthew Forss holds a BA in biology, MS in exercise science, and an MFA in creative writing. Since 2000, he has been writing world music reviews for Edmonton-based Inside World Music.com, while amassing a very large collection of ethnomusicological recordings from every country in the world. Matthew continues to publish music articles and cultural book reviews in various academic journals and magazines and has an acquired taste for Central Asian linguistics (Uzbek, Kazakh, and Tajik).

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