Note: This section of the ahwash dance begins with an unaccompanied vocal melody sung by the women’s chorus, translated by Alan Lomax’s interpreter: “Al-Malik (king) Hassan comes to the beautiful gardens.” The women are then joined by a counter-melody sung by the men, with rhythm accompaniment by the frame drum ensemble.
About the session: Recordings from a wedding and ahwash performance in the village of Aguelmouss. Ahwash is the festive music and dance of the Tachelhit-speaking Imazighen (Berbers) of the High Atlas, Sahara and Sous regions of Morocco, performed in celebration of important occasions and holidays. Each village has its own unique form, though generally ahwash is performed by two large antiphonal choruses accompanied by polyrhythmic drumming on frame drums (benadir or tilluna). The dancers link arms -the men in one row and the women in another- and move in an uninterrupted chain. 3000 people in the village –all well acquainted –all came to the wedding with gifts –lasts for 4 days –father invites and entertains all the men, mother the grown women, the daughter of the house the girls. The first night, in front of 20 witnesses, the imam incorporates the amount of the dowry into the wedding agreement –bargaining goes on –a certain amount is settled upon which is paid over by the bridgegroom to the imam, if the marriage breaks up, and he pays it over to the girl –this is no matter how many years have passed.
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