North African 78s

09/12/16The Vinyl Factory Unearths Brilliant Mix Via Ceints De Bakélite

Late last week The Vinyl Factory released a mix of North African 78 rpm records by ways of Parisian blog Ceints de bakélite, tracing the origins of Maghreb music. Ceints de bakélite specializes on 78s from around the world, focussing mainly on non-Western popular music and other musical curiosities.

The 52-minute mix features 12 tracks spanning "both folk and popular music recordings made in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia from the 1930s to the 1950s. It starts and finishes with hypnotic gasba flute performances but also features some of the most famous singers in Maghreb at that time, such as Reinette l’Oranaise, Salim Halali and Zohra el Fassia".

A short introduction to the mix also offers some insight to the field of 78 recordings: "These thick and heavy records [composed mainly of shellac] were produced from the late 1880s and lasted until the 1950s in western countries, one or even two decades later in some other places like India or South Africa. 78 rpm is a generic term that actually refers to a wide and fascinating variety of records. From the 5″ records produced in Germany by Emile Berliner in 1889 to French 20″ centre-start Pathé records from the 1910s, their sizes are anything but standard and would probably delight DJ Food and his odd-sized records list. Their speed also varied from 60 to 130 rpm until it was standardized in the 1920s. [...] Besides western classical music and opera, the pre-vinyl repertoire also includes several decades of jazz and blues recordings, as well as the very first rock ‘n’ roll or rhythm and blues songs. Furthermore, a huge amount of records were made outside Europe and North America starting from the beginning of the 20th century and the last majority of this material has never been reissued in any formats. So finding the original 78s is often the only way to listen to the first recordings made in North Africa, Middle East or East and South East Asia."

Find more exciting 78 releases visit the Ceints de bakélite blog, Excavated Shellac or Jewish Maghrib. But for now, head over to The Vinyl Factory and listen to Ceints de bakélite's mix of North African 78s. Tracklist below.

01. Cheikha Mama Labassia – Nahjar Nahjar, part 1 (Pathé, Algeria)
02. Zineb Bent Sigya – Mama Skertek China (Polydor, Algeria)
03. Lebrati dit Sassi – Lemta Yahna Kelbi (Columbia, Algeria)
04. Cheikh Nourredine – Sabhanek Allah (Pathé, Algeria)
05. Cheikha Zohra el Fassia – Ah Ya Aua (Polyphon, Morocco)
06. Raissa Mbarka et sa troupe – Lalla Aicha, part 1 (Pathé, Morocco)
07. Cheikh Ali Soufi – Ya Rabbi Sidi Kodertek, part 1 (Disque Gramophone, Algeria)
08. Reinette l’Oranaise – El Khikaa (Polyphon, Algeria)
09. Salim Halali – Elli Kalbou Safi (Pathé, Algeria)
10. Louisa Tounsia – Estanitek ou Ma Jitini (Disque Gramophone, Tunisia)
11. Smarda el Olgia – Noubet Edmaïl (Smarda, Tunisia)
12. Anonymous – Gasba Touila, solo de flûte oranaise (Pathé, Algeria)

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom