Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Freres Bouchenak (1984)

The brothers Bouchenak were a proto-Rai group from Morocco formed in the late '70s and disbanded in the late '80s.  This album was released in 1984 and it contains some rocking cuts, complete with gnawa qraqabs and bubbly synths.
As usual, any more info on this group or these songs would be much appreciated.


01 Mimouna
02 N'Oublier Pas
03 Barbare
04 Orphelin
05 Trouble

Get it HERE.


tim abdellah said...

Oooh! That's an oldie! Looking forward to giving it a spin.

Also, the j-card is one of the most awesome things I've seen in a long time. The bros rising from a flaming bendir!!

Chris Randolph said...

Hello -

I love the blog and thought you (and your readers?) would like to know about my crowd funding venture to release a CD of Moroccan street music:


Essentially if the project is funded everyone who pledged money is charged and gets the premium(s), including copies of the CD or a digital package of the same music etc delivered electronically.

If the project isn't fully funded in 2 months then no one is charged a penny and we don't get the funding.

Thanks and thanks for all of the hard work on the blog!

- Chris

Hammer said...

Mucho thanks T. You rock, bro.

Indeed, Tim: This is their second cassette album, which was released on the Hassania label in Casablanca in 1984. The first is better (black cassette cover with the four brother's pictures on separate fuzzed-out circles instead of a burning bendir, but yeah the music was good).

It's basically a band of brothers (once included the now-famous Ahmad Bouchnak who's started with this proto-Raï band when he was just five years old, but now is a well-known singer all over the Arab world).

The Brothers Bouchnak, (or, الإخوان بشناق - Al-Ikhwan Bouchnak - Les Frères Bouchnak: Redha, Mohammed, Hamid, and Mohammed Boucnak) started as a beat band in the mid-70's. Their father Si Younis Efendi was an already-established malhoun and gharnathi Moroccan musician having a huge followup around Oujda near the Algerian borders on the eastern side of Morocco where the brothers were born.

The first songs these younguns started to listen to weren't their father's Moroccan-Algerian music classics, but reggae artists from Jah-ma-Aye-ca. Almost all Moroccan 70's bands were worshipers of Bob Marley and everyone wanted to be the Next Marley. The influence of Raï music started to grow stronger as musicians from Algeria went to perform in their town near the border, and these Algerian bands were strictly Raï musicians in a more effective way than gnawaist or Moroccanroll bands like Nass El-Ghiwane and Jil Jilala, and the brothers took this as their 'truer' pop-rock ID.

Taking a leaf from these Algerian band's pop-book, they wanted to have a concert around 1979, which much to their surprise as budding singers, was a huge success. Radio concerts followed the next year (They won a famous radio contest in 1980 called City Lights Concert, or Adwa Al-Madinah and came at the first spot with their song Jennouni - 'My Madness'), and in no time the Bouchnaks found their selves a good deal with that Moroccan record label who signed them (prolly, they issued 4-5 cassette albums in the eighties, but I am not sure about that).

This album (S/T) was their second. The first is hard to get, but some Moroccan music sites has all of its tracks readily downloadable. IMNSHO, The first album was far better because it has less 'electric' atmosphonics in it. This band was credited to be first to electrify Raï music, using a keyboard and some early-80's synthesisers. Not my favourite bag, but they are okay.

In the late 80's they got down to record two more cassette albums one in 1986 (I guess they recorded their last album in 1987) that was somehow good (Mundial-1986) in commemoration of the World Cup of the same year that was held in Mexico City (Note: Cheb Khaled has a same-titled cassette-album which you can find in my blog in case you want to hear it).

But, throughout the late 80's and with no consistent concert routine after a series of very successful live acts in Holland in 1988, the brothers found it best to disband in 1992.

They were nicknamed the Knights of Raï (Fersan Al-Raï) because their songs were so encouraging to their fellow folkmen, and had this macho-ness to it; Arab unity, brotherly love, ... etc.

Lastly, the band played in duets with many Algerian and Moroccan singers like Les Frères Megri, Bouchra, and many others.

Styles: Raï Electrique, Raïggae, Raï Moderne, Electro Pop, Synth-Pop, Pop Algérien.

Here's their Mondial-1986 album DL link IYI:

RapidShare - http://rapidshare.com/files/24977887/Les_Freres_Bouchnak.rar

Youtube tracks collection: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5963FA072715D763

Similar Artists:
Cheb Kamal
Maimoun El-Wajdi
Rachid Ba'Riah

Mr Tear said...

Hi all,

Hope you enjoy this one. Hammer, thanks as usual for sharing your knowledge - your comments, along with Tim's (and your respective blogs!) are providing me with a real education and a growing understanding for which I am hugely grateful.

I certainly agree with you, this is not the best Moroccan music I've ever posted (by quite some distance) but I included it here for curiosity value as much as anything. The blend of traditional and electric instruments is unusual and different to anything I've heard previously and the song Orphelin is as close to Mo'rock 'n' roll as I've ever heard.

Gary said...

Well, I think this is just wonderful, but then I have a huge love for almost any music right at the point where it is transitioning from more folk/trad to pop/electric.

Thanks for this!

Mr Tear said...

Thanks for dropping in Gary. Glad you're enjoying this one!

Hammer said...

Hastily, I wrote the names of this four-member band on the above comment repeating one member's name (Mohammed), and getting the name of one of their youngest brothers wrong.

"a band of brothers (once included the now-famous LUTFI Bouchnak who's started with this proto-Raï band when he was just five years old, but now is a well-known singer all over the Arab world)."

"The Brothers Bouchnak, (or, الإخوان بشناق - Al-Ikhwan Bouchnak - Les Frères Bouchnak: Redha, Mohammed, Hamid, and Ahmad Bouchnak)."

That's all.


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Maxim said...

Does someday have their album with "Jinnouni" on it? I guess it's called Nostalgie