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Musical Brotherhoods from the Trans-Saharan Highway

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Filmed in 2005 by Hisham Mayet, predominately at the Jemaa Al Fna in Marrakesh, Morocco, Musical Brotherhoods from the Trans-Saharan Highway captures an assortment of spectacular musical dramas presented live and unfiltered on the home turf of the world's most dynamic string and drum specialists performing and manifesting the ecstatic truth. Ancient mystical brotherhoods have been flourishing for centuries in and around the cities of Marrakesh and Essaouira in Morocco where the trade caravans have gathered from their long journeys across the Trans-Saharan Highway. This is some of the last great street music on Earth. A must-see for string aficionados looking for inspiration as electric ouds, banjos, mandolins and the Gnawa sentir peel flesh from bone right before your eyes! Color; 60 minutes; digipak; all-region DVD; NTSC format.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Directors: Hisham Mayet
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Sublime Frequencies
  • DVD Release Date: February 5, 2008
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0012E2IT4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #407,499 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Format: DVD
Musical Brotherhoods from the Trans-Saharan Highway
(Sublime Frequencies)

A film by Hisham Mayet

Musical Brotherhoods from the Trans-Saharan Highway (Sublime Frequencies-DVD) Filmed in Marrakesh, Morocco at a bazaar known as Jemaa Al Fna, Musical Brotherhoods from the Trans-Saharan Highway captures the rich musical life of this public meeting place, which every night transforms into a sprawling patchwork quilt of simultaneous musical performances. The "Brotherhoods" that take over the square at night each purvey their own brand of ecstatic trance music -- intricately ornamented (and often incredibly fast), electrified ouds, mandolins and banjos blare through improvised amplifiers cobbled together from car stereo parts and megaphones, backed by a battery of Moroccan frame drums, handclaps and group chants. Audience/performer boundaries seem to vanish in these nightly rituals, with members of the crowd taking turns drumming, clapping, singing and jumping into the circle to take a turn dancing solo. As I watched this DVD, I couldn't help feeling a little impoverished -- this is surely some of the most incredible communal music you will ever have the good-fortune of seeing, and it all happens in the street. Elsewhere in the square, boxing matches take place, a falcon trainer shows off his bird and a man spins selections from a dusty stack of Arabic 45s.
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Amazing music all the way through. Amplified Ouds, lutes, and banjoes abound. I know that banjoes are originally African, but the ones used look like 5 and 6 string American Standards. I read somewhere that the Jajouka Brotherhood, (not featured in this movie), are still using the same gear left by Brian Jones when he visited Morroco in the 60's.
Anyway, I'm sure this doc will inspire many crusty anarcho-punks to drop the Balkan-Gypsy music bag and to pick up Ouds and Rabbabs instead, for better or worse.
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almost all of this film was shot in the jemaa el fna in marrakesh....the only other footage comes from essaouira.....the documentary has no irritating voice-over and concentrates (as did the earlier dvd by sublime frequencies) on a few of the groups playing in this world-famous large public square.....whereas the earlier production had the camera wandering and taking in the crowds of spectators this present dvd focuses on the musicians to a greater extent.....i missed watching the faces in the crowd because the light of the gas lamps gives them a special presence and so was glad to see one section of a couple of minutes of nothing but close-ups of spectators.......the only "musical brotherhood" in the traditional academic sense of the term is the hamadsha and they are shown chanting accompaning themselves with their drums (gwal) -no ghaita or flutes (lira). there is only a two-second glimpse of the gnaoua fom a distance. so if you like raw footage of rough live music direct from the street with none of the formality of a concert and no "artistic" cutting and manipulation, you will like this dvd.
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