Friday, June 17, 2011

Libyan Merskawi Music: 'Abd al-Jalil 'Abd al-Qadir

Khaled Mattawa tells us that Merskawi music was one of two styles of urban music to emerge in Libya in the 1970s. Merskawi's "conventional lyrics and traditional rhythms along with the hard living of its singers made it the favored sound among the young and disaffected. Singing mainly at private gatherings, Merskawi performers commanded top dollar, as well as the commensurate supply of local moonshine and hashish, which were all happily provided to them even in conservative Libya."

Also courtesy Khaled, I learned of a fantastic Libyan Merskawi artist, 'Abd al-Jalil 'Abd al-Qadir. Please check him out. The performance reminds me a bit of Pakistani qawwali. It's partly the presence of the accordion, but it's also the relaxed feel, the spontaneity, the fact that the musicians are seated, and the length of the song. Below is part one of the song راد الله عليا. Please check out part two as well. It's really fabulous. Such a find!

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