Wednesday, March 04, 2009

when samy elhar ibi becomes sliman el magribi becomes samy elmaghribi...

zakiphon 7"

eliephon 7"

samyphone 7"

one of the craziest and most confusing transactions i've ever had on ebay involved some 7" records of Moroccan Sephardic music purchased from a guy in new york about a year ago. i initially won 5 records, and when they arrived the covers and the records didn't match. so i went back onto ebay to see images of the discs he hadn't sold, mined the photos of all the auctions for clues, and ended up buying 5 more, thinking i could match the 10 records to the 10 covers; but that didn't work for various reasons...

as i started to try to put right covers with right records i realized the dealer wasn't as stupid as i originally thought. as you can see from the three covers above, a single artist such as samy elmaghribi has not only at least three spellings of his name, but also three different record labels - zakiphon, samyphone, and eliephon (i also had some records on "pianophon" and "brotherphone"). i figured i could at least match the record labels to the right covers, but in most cases the index numbers did not match up. also, since some of the discs were pressed in Israel and some in France, the titles, etc. are sometimes in one language on the cover and another on the disc label. sure, with french i can at least match similar words, but with hebrew it's more like trying to find matching ink blots... my favorite, of course, is the cover at the top, where someone took a marker and changed the artist's name, and spelled it differently than on any of the discs or covers in the lot...

fortunately, not only are most of the covers graphic gems, but the recordings are absolutely stellar. the two standout artists are albert suissa (whom i will try to do a post on later) and samy or sliman, el magribi or elmaghribi... who i'm posting a few tracks from here.

from a bit of web snooping it seems these are moroccan artists singing sephardic songs, which were sold in france and israel, but the web was not much help either, so i would suggest simply enjoying the music and if anyone wants to shed some light on these artists, please feel free to drop me a note or add to the comments. i believe samy/sliman was pretty popular as there seem to be a number of cd compilations available.

click here to listen to chraa alah ya lahbab

click here to listen to el mra elqebiha

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

—from the blurb on the back of The Informers

9:37 AM  
Blogger Joel Bresler said...

Thanks for your post, I will share it with one of his former oud students.


Joel Bresler

6:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent stuff! Samy recorded a bunch of 78s, too!

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salim Halali, Sliman elmaghribi and Sami elmaghribi are three different and great moroccan musicians. Salim halali worked mostly in Algeria and died in france, and like sami, lived in canada as well. as far as I know, Sliman died in Israel, Sami, who was one of the founders of the Israeli andelous orchestra died in canada few years ago and recorded a lot of Jewish religious traditional Moroccan music.
Hardly one and an half generation since those three were superstars among Jews and Muslims in morocco and Israel now you cant find a piece of information about them.

there is still few videos...start from this and follow the links...

1:13 PM  

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