Laylet el Booree

09/04/19Blood, Sweat & Trance: Ifriqiyya Électrique Release Album #2

Several years ago Gianna Greco and François R. Cambuzat travelled to the Saharan Djerid desert of Tunisia to document the ancient, religious Banga ritual of Sidi Marzûq. With a background in the undergound post-punk scene of continental Europe and after months of studying, recording, filming and bonding, the two proceeded to integrate their findings into their own musical output, which was to become the contemporary five-piece Ifriqiyya Électrique.

"Their original intention was not to join in the ritual but rather to research how this unique ceremony delivered 'pure elevation' to its participants. This state of elevation or trance, is something that they had experienced in their own music, and they were searching for instructive parallels and new perspectives."

We first reported on this extraordinary project of conjuring the ancient spirits with modern-day electronics back in 2016. In 2017, Greco and Cambuzat along with three musicians from the Banga community, aka Tarek Sultan, Yahia Chouchen and Youssef Ghazala, successfully released their debut album "Rûwâhîne" (Spirit), which "deftly brought together the hypnotic chants and metallic hand percussion of traditional Banga music with brutalist electronics and sheer rock volume." Following the album release, the group brought their up close and personal performance to stages throughout Europe for the next eighteen months.

"It quickly became clear that the Banga had not been pointlessly retooled for western consumption, but rather through the deep commitment of the five Ifriqiyya Electrique musicians – it had been transformed into something contemporary and unexpected. Ifriqiyya Électrique cryptically call this transformation a 'post-industrial ritual' and the actual experience of hearing this music certainly echoes this moniker. The band create a fertile space where ecstatic electronics and rock levitation intersect with timeless ceremony and community."

Last week, the group released its gripping and equally relentless second album "Laylet et Booree" (Night of the Madness) on Glitterbeat Records, referring "to the last part of the annual gathering of the adorcist ritual from the Bang of Tozeur – the night when the spirits actually take possession of the bodies." But as wild and frantic as the album may appear, "its purpose is to heal; with sweat, spirituality, electricity and trance being central to the almost overwhelming sensory experience." On "Laylet et Booree" Ifriqiyya Électrique join forces with new band member Fatma Chebbi, who adds her vocals and tchektchekas to the conversation. Head over to Bandcamp to read more and immerse yourself in a haunting world of sound.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom