The musical heritage
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's 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.
Subsistence farming is the main activity of most of the villagers living in Jajouka. The main crops are olives, tillage of vegetables such as carrots, turnips, potatoes, and the raising of sheep, which are grazed out on common land. Poultry are raised by the women. In the summer shepherd boys bring the herds to the higher slopes. They can be heard practicing on bamboo flutes from miles away. The livestock, chickens and high quality olive oil provide a cash element in this economy. There is also small-scale honey production by some enterprising villagers. In recent years, electricity and mobile telephony have arrived in the village and there is a passable road, which has reduced the cost of transporting essential goods to the village. The cost of transportation had previously made many items unavailable or prohibitively expensive to the villagers. The Ahl-Srif was also an area where kif (cannabis) was grown, but its cultivation has been recently prohibited. However, there seems to be no alternative cash crop for those who had depended on it in the past.
- Hamri, Mohamed (1975), "Tales of Joujouka". Capra Press.
- Palmer, Robert (October 14, 1971). "Jajouka: Up the Mountain". Rolling Stone..
- Davis, Stephen (2001). Old Gods Almost Dead. Broadway Books, 135–37, 172, 195–201, 227; 233–34, 248–53, 270, 354, 504–505, 508.
- Strauss, Neil (October 12, 1995). "The Pop Life: To Save Jajouka, How About a Mercedes in the Village?". The New York Times.
- Davis, Stephen (1993). Jajouka Rolling Stone: A Fable of Gods and Heroes. Random House.
References and notes
- Geiger, John (2005). Nothing Is True - Everything Is Permitted: The Life of Brion Gysin. The Disinformation Company. p. 114. ISBN 1-932857-12-5. "Joujouka/Jajouka/Zahjoukah in Walter Armbrust (ed.), Mass Mediations, New Approaches to Popular Culture in the Middle East and beyond, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000 p.151). Another spelling is Joujouka and a more unusual variant is Zahjoukah, although Jajouka, considered more accurate phonetically, seems to have become more common."
- The Master Musicians of Jajouka led by Bachir Attar Official website
- Link to Interview with Bachir Attar on KBoo FM Portland, Oregon, 19 February 2009 on Jajouka music and its history.