Paul Hawkins interviews Frank
Rynne on the worlds oldest Rock n Roll
band : The Master Musicians of Joujouka
The Master Musicians of Joujouka were first
promoted in Western literature by William Burroughs in
the 1950s. Since they first attracted the attention of
Burroughs' sidekick Brion Gysin in the early fifties, The
Master Musicians of Joujouka have been feted and visited
by a host of cultural luminaries including Paul Bowles,
Brian Jones, Acid guru Timothy Leary, who wrote an essay
on his trip in Jail Notes (1971), Ornette Coleman, The
Rolling Stones, and latterly by producers Bill Laswell
and Frank Rynne. The most recent celebrity to receive the
musicians hospitality in Joujouka (or Jajouka) was
Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan who Rynne
accompanied to the remote mountain top in 2006.
Rynne's Joujouka experiences are different
from many westerners. Rynne, like Brion Gysin, who spent
23 years in Morocco so as to be close to the musicians,
has kept up his contact and made dozens of visits to the
village over the past fifteen years. Like Brion Gysin he
was a friend of the Moroccan painter Mohamed Hamri who
first brought his native village and their Master Sufi
trance musicians to the notice of the Western avant
garde. Rynne's knowledge of the village, the music,
culture and the individual villagers is unparalleled.
I caught up with Frank Rynne to find out
about his work with the Master Musicians of Joujouka,
which is soon to enter its sixteenth year. Frank talks
about recording three CDs, radio shows, films and
soundtracks in Joujouka, as well as managing the Master
Musicians of Joujouka.
Being a fan of William Burroughs, Frank,
getting to visit the Master Musicians in their home
village of Joujouka must have been amazing. The village
is linked closely to the Tangier Beat Generation; tell me
about your first time out there.
There had been a bit of
journey to get to that point. I dont think
Burroughs was on my mind when I eventually got there. Not
at first in any case. It took a few weeks to absorb the
reality and put it into the context of things that I had
read. At my side through my first adventures in Joujouka
was Mohamed Hamri who was himself the equal to anyone
else considered to be part of the beat generation in his
personality, talent and his ability to tell a story.
I know that you
first met Hamri at the Here to Go Show
in Dublin back in 1992...Tell me about that.
In 1992 I co-organised the Here
to Go Show, an art show celebrating
the work of William Burroughs and Brion Gysin. Being a
musician I was particularly interested in the musical
connection between the painters we exhibited: Burroughs,
Gysin and Hamri the Painter of Morocco. That music was of
course the Master Musicians of Joujouka who Brian Jones
posthumously made famous by recording them and later, in
1971, The Rolling Stones released his album as the first
release on Rolling Stones Records.
was powerful one at the Here To Go
Destroy All Rational Thought DVD captures
the aura really well.........
Hamri rightly insisted that
the Master Musicians of Joujouka were essential to any
event promoting Brion Gysin so I worked on getting
Joujouka to the show. Gysins love of Joujouka
trance music kept him in Morocco for 23 years. After the
show I kept in touch with Hamri by phone and he kept
insisting I come to Joujouka. It took a few years to get
there but when I came I had a contract with Sub Rosa
Records to do a CD and it took precedence over other
concerns. The result of my first three months there was
the Joujouka Black Eyes CD
released in 1995. Recording it was an amazing experience.
So how did the
recording sessions go?
Around 10 am every day, as
I awoke after another all night session of music, I would
hear the musicians voices outside. The sound of
Hamris slippers in the kitchen was my call to duty.
Hearing the kettle put in place and the sound of eggs
sizzling in a metal plate, I would go out and greet the
Mallims (Master Musicians) on the veranda.
Eyes was recorded in organic
moments. Wed eat, talk, then have some music, eat,
move to the back of the house away from the sun, and have
a little music. Day and night blended together. Time was
marked by a Friday ritual; the older musicians were
shaved by the younger ones before they went to the
mosque. Occasionally Hamri would get restless and after
12 days we would return to Tangier for a weekend.
Which is where
Hamri and Brion Gysin had their 1001 Night restaurant and
where they insisted the Master Musicians played for the
diners, who were often writers, artists and
musicians associated with the Tangier Beats.........
Yes it was in Tangier that
Hamri met Paul Bowles in 1950 and later Gysin and
Burroughs. Tangiers was where the Beats gathered in
Morocco in the 1950s and 1960s. It was an International
Zone ruled by six powers who all vied for prominence.
This was the Interzone of Burroughs fiction and
Gysin and Hamri were at the centre of that world. In
Tangiers it was easier to connect with the Burroughs
spirit. He drew on the city so much for his fiction and
even though Deans Bar is now covered in Real Madrid
memorabilia it still retains something essentially seedy
and Mugwumpish. Maybe its the cockroaches.
Burroughs championed their music, and by doing that, the
whole culture and spirituality, didnt he?
and respect for the Masters was without prejudice. He
loved the music. He both appreciated and promoted its
importance to the best of his abilities. In Joujouka it
was easy to feel the spirit of Hassan I Sabbah which
Burroughs felt had somehow been transposed to the place.
Burroughs and Gysin imagined Joujouka as hilltop fortress
populated by musicians and their families but connected
by some mystical thread to Hassan I Sabbahs Alamut
fortress (destroyed by Hugula Khan in 13th C.). The
musicians did originate in Persia where Hassan had his
fortress and his Hashishin (Assassin) followers. However
religiously there is little connection between them and
the village of Joujouka is like for me.
The best eggs in the
..and chickens and the bread
is magnificent! Joujouka changes radically through the
seasons, from rain and mud slides to desert like dust.
The village consists of some two hundred houses perched
on a small hill. In the centre is the Sanctuary of 8th
century Sufi saint Sidi Ahmed Scheich, the mosque and the
graveyard. The people who live in the area and the nearby
villages are intrinsically connected through family ties
and land usage. They are mostly from the very large Ahl
Srif tribe whose area runs from Ouzanne to Chefchouen.
The Master Musicians of Joujouka are famous within their
tribe. The Sanctuary in Joujouka is a central feature of
the village. It is on the side of the hill that the
graveyard is on and also the house of Hamri and the new
sometimes a unique micro climate existing in a high up
The area is mountainous.
Joujouka is a gateway to the higher mountains. The view
to the east is of fifty small hills and a great lake. To
the north are the higher Rif Mountains. However life can
be very tough in Joujouka. The seasons bring their
problems, drought and mountain fires in summer, mud
slides and erosion caused by rain in winter. There are
also other strange natural phenomenons.
Such as Frank?
Tell me more.............
Once I saw the sky blacken
with birds quite like starlings. The flock was 3
kilometres in width and several kilometres long. They
flew over and attacked the olive groves of the valley.
They blocked the sun and turned the day into twilight.
The sound of their wings and their presence overhead
created a pressure on top of us all. This was very
Hitchcockian. Within twenty minutes they left with half
that years olive crop in their bellies. One of the
musicians Abdelslam Errtoubi (the Errtoubi are the
descendants of Sidi Ahmed Scheich) asked me Why are
you taking photos when our crops are being
destroyed? I asked him why he was not trying to
stop the birds. He shrugged and said How? Even with
guns it would be useless. We both shrugged and I
continued to photograph.
The villagers of
Joujouka have a unique heritage....
There is a strong community
in Joujouka. The people understand that their heritage is
important. This has nothing to do with western influence
or interest. They know that they want to keep their
traditions and culture alive in their community. They
have every right to do that.
Their spiritual music is
legendary; can you give me some background on the
musicians beliefs and traditions?
There are seemingly
overlapping traditions in Joujouka. The village
celebrates the rites of Boujeloud on the first full moon
after the Aid El Kebir. Boujeloud is a half-goat half-man
figure that equates with ancient worship of Pan around
the Mediterranean. Like Pan, Boujeloud symbolises
fertility in springtime. The music that accompanies the
ritual is the most ferocious music played by the Master
Musicians of Joujouka. It is the most ancient in their
repertoire. It first soothes and then repels the beast
from the village. All who have been visited by Boujeloud
are fertile and their crops are bountiful. Dancing to his
music brings good health.
Boujeloud painted by Brion Gysin 1958 All rights reserved
we have so much to learn from these cultures whose
ancient belief systems have remained intact and
The second aspect of the
spirituality of the village is the reverence for the Sufi
saints buried there. Sidi Ahmed Scheich, the Cultivator
with Lions and Healer of Crazy Minds, is credited with
founding Joujouka. Having wandered from Persia in the
860s AD he and his seven companions encountered a tribe
of musicians in the Ahl Srif Djebel. Hearing them play
the saint felt their music was useful. He wrote music for
them with a spiritual intent; to calm and cure ailments
of the mind and to promote peace and harmony. Sidi Ahmed
drew a line in the sand in Joujouka: those who follow his
path, remaining on his side of the line may reap
bountiful rewards and fertility, those who are outside
the line can find no happiness in Joujouka.
Sidi Ahmed Scheich has,
as you say, an influential place as the founder and
guardian of Joujouka....
Joujouka is the country of
Sidi Ahmed Scheich. When I first visited with Hamri we
would always bring extra supplies to send to his
sanctuary and to the mosque. Hamri was a great believer
in the Baraka or
blessing of Sidi Ahmed Scheich. He felt that the whole
area was governed by his spirit including the music. The
musicians believe this also. Another Sufi saint in
Joujouka is Sidi Ghara whose sanctuary in an olive grove
on the hill leading to the village. Visiting his tomb
cures back pains and aids the chest. This is another Sufi
Lets talk about
Hamri. What role did he have in the village of Joujouka?
He was from the village and
was moved away as a child to the nearest town Ksar El
Kebir. His family have always been in Joujouka, to this
very day. Hamri invented what is now marketed in the West
as both The Master Musicians of Joujouka and the
breakaway Master Musicians of Jajouka featuring Bachir
Attar. Hamri, a boy from the village, got street wise.
When he returned and found the musicians, his cousins and
uncles hungry, he took them on the trains to play and
collect money. He organised them. In 1953, with Brion
Gysin (painter and inventor of the Cut -up Method used by
William S. Burroughs) he founded the 1001 Night
restaurant in Tangier which employed the musicians in
shifts of fifteen at a time to play two week stints there
and then return to the village. This alone sustained the
village for nearly ten years. Later Hamri brought William
Burroughs to Joujouka and later again Brian Jones
visited. After his initial introduction to Joujouka,
Jones pledged money which was used to build a musicians
headquarters and to buy them new outfits. When Jones
returned in 1968 he recorded Brian
Jones presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka.
His work in the village
has a potent and significant legacy.........
These were some of the
results of Hamris work with Joujouka for the twenty
years from 1948 -1968. Later still he brought Timothy
Leary when Leary was on the run from the Feds. Leary
wrote about his visit in his book Jail
Notes. The essay is called The
four thousand year old rocknroll band.
In 1973 Hamri brought Ornette Coleman to record with the
musicians, some of the results of this are on Dancing
in My Head. The same year he worked
on what became the 1974 release Master
Musicians of Jajouka. This was the
first use of that spelling for the musicians. This came
about as the producer had argued with Hamri and sought to
cut him and the musicians association out of the
proceeds of the record. Later, having lived in the
USA for a few years, Hamri returned in time to save the
musicians from being written out of their own history.
He was a great artist, I
have been fortunate to see some of his work, and it
really has an amazing quality, an earthy
Burroughs said of Hamri's
painting The Djinnoun spirits ripple and frolic
through Hamris paintings. He was a remarkable
artist who could combine in his paintings the ordinary
people of Morocco, the landscape and cityscapes with the
subtle magic of daily Moroccan life. Hamris
paintings are among the most sought after in Morocco at
the moment. He was a great artist. The musicians fully
appreciate this as does the entire village. Without Hamri
the music would never have been known outside of the
mountains!!! Hamri was a great painter and raconteur, his
vision of Joujouka as he expressed to Brion Gysin, Paul
Bowles, William Burroughs and Robert Palmer is the
the legends about the village are all
from Hamris mouth and later published in his book Tales
of Joujouka (Santa Barbara, 1975).
He sadly passed away not
so long ago, didnt he?
Hamri died in August 2000
in Joujouka after a long illness. He is revered in
Joujouka. He brought fame and glory to the village. He
sought to make sure that the peoples culture would
survive. He knew from the time he was a boy that the
Master Musicians of Joujouka are special, their music is
important and it must be saved in as pure a form as
Tell me about the
recordings you made out there....How did they come about?
Recording was Hamris
idea. My first contact with him came from the English
writer Terry Wilson who did Brion Gysins Here
to Go book. When we were organising
the Here to Go Show
in 1992 it seemed appropriate that Gysins first
major collaborator, Hamri, should be involved. We invited
him and I maintained phone contact. As I said Hamri felt
the musicians should be present at the show. William
Burroughs agreed and the funds necessary were arranged by
the shows sponsor Gordon Campbell.
recording straight away though Frank, were you?
In 1992, the Here
to Go Show was filmed and later
released as Destroy All Rational
Thought. My recording for CDs began
two years later when I finally got to Joujouka. Ira
Cohen, the beat poet, photographer and filmmaker from New
York had his CD out on Sub Rosa and it featured some of
Gysins 1960s Joujouka recordings as well as music
from the Velvet Undergrounds first
percussionist/drummer Angus MacAlise.
I didnt realise
there was a line linking them to The Velvets....
Through Angus and Ira the
music of Joujouka entered the world of the Velvets and
Warhol. John Giorno who was also a Warhol collaborator
came to Joujouka several times. In 1996 I was doing the Festimad
Poetics festival in Madrid with
Hamri. John Cale and John Giorno were was also on the
bill along with Richard Hell, Lydia Lunch and Tav Falco.
The reunion between Hamri and Giorno was very moving.
Hamri was in tears. I dont think they had met since
the early 70s. It is important to remember, the Rolling
Stones and the Beats aside, that Hamri and Gysin
connected the Master Musicians of Joujouka into another
important art movement of the 20th century, the Pop Art
scene of Andy Warhol. This occurred before Brian Jones
arrived in Joujouka. Of course Anita Pallenberg was also
part of the Warhol scene before she was part of the
The historical context
to Joujouka just blows me away..........
Sub Rosa had
Burroughs recordings of The Master Musicians of
Joujouka music out on his Breakthrough
in Grey Room CD. They seemed the
perfect label for authentic Master Musicians of Joujouka
recordings. I contacted them and they wanted a disc. This
put some pressure on me as I was now not just visiting my
friends from the Here to Go Show
but was also supposed to record their new CD.
What experience did you
have of recording, especially a live band that uses
Being Irish I always knew
folk music. My father comes from an area of Co. Clare
famous for its superb traditional musicians. I found it
easy to approach Joujouka music with that knowledge of my
You were involved as an
artist in the rock n roll world for a number
of years, did that put you in the groove for recording
In terms of experience I
did my first radio session with a rockabilly band Those
Handsome Devils for Irelands John Peel, Dave
Fanning, in 1984. Later my band The Baby Snakes were
produced by Paul Thomas, who worked with Status Quo, Thin
Lizzy and who engineered the first three U2 albums. In
London I worked with Dave Goodman who produced the Sex
Pistols Great RocknRoll
Swindle. In the few years
before the Here to Go Show
I had been working on, of all things, Johnny Cash. When
my drummer Nigel Preston (co-founder The Cult, ex-Theatre
of Hate, Sex Gang Children and The Gun Club) got arrested
in 1990 I decided that the band would play only Johnny
Cash songs until he got out. That was a year and a half
later. In the meantime The Baby Snakes play the
songs of Johnny Cash became a hot show in London.
Johnny Cash himself met us after we sent him some
recordings. He said Hi Im Johnny Cash I like
the way you boys do my songs. We talked for twenty
minutes before the show and we got front row seats and a
song dedicated by Johnny to the band
Rhythm as I recall. That was 1991.
Did you have a recording
technique you used in Joujouka?
We did so many sessions for
the local BBC Greater London Radio that the engineers
took a shine to us, especially after we met Cash. I asked
them How do we get the Sun Records
sound? and in informal all-night sessions we tried.
A mono mike or three in the centre and recording live to
master tape was the answer. Positioning and the
performance were all that counted then, no mixing.
Ok, so we now have got
the Beat Writers, that whole scene of artists and
hipsters, The Rolling Stones, Ornette Coleman, The
Velvets and Pop Art via Johnny Cash, Thin Lizzy, The Sex
Pistols, The Baby Snakes and BBC radio engineers
improvising in the search of the Sun Records sound! The
weird and wonderful journeys that lead to the spiritually
deep North African music are evocative and
beautiful................and, of course, like life,
circular...........How did the sessions go?
In Joujouka I was after a
sound that preserved the folk music and had one eye on
Sun Records Sam Phillips work. After a few days I
began to get the musicians and Hamri to listen to all the
recordings on headsets. We discussed the dogs barking,
Field recordings, by
default, have to include the country and the
To an extent but I was
looking for a pure sound that maintained the intimacy
that I was experiencing and could be listened to on
record over and over again. At first the musicians wanted
me to sit in the centre of their tight group with the
rhaitas or flutes on one side and the drums on the other.
I experimented with many positions and over the weeks we
got great moments on tape. They let me do what ever I
wanted once they started to hear the results, and
approved of them. This was a communal activity. Somehow
they accepted me and they ignored the mike. I recorded on
one stereo mike straight to master. Later I EQed
the tracks and did some slight things in post production
with Vince DiCiccio engineering in London and the result
of the first three months was Joujouka
Blacks Eyes, released in 1995. I
continued recording intensively on Sub Rosa projects for
four years. Later I did work for the BBC World Service
recording on their equipment in the village for the 2000
documentary Return to Joujouka.
Thats a fantastic
journey Frank , to get to an organic way of capturing
such powerful music. How did you manage the language
Hamri refused to translate
fully for me saying If you want to work with these
people you must understand them. Know how to do things
correctly. After ten days in Marrakech recording
Gnoua musicians and getting fast track Arabic lessons, I
returned to Joujouka able to say water, come, go, egg and
You since became
involved as their manager, didnt you?
I have been with the
musicians for fifteen years now and have seen their
children grow up and the new ones arrive. Since
Hamris death his lessons have been well appreciated
as I have had to bring the Masters to concerts outside
Morocco, as well as record them and negotiate on their
behalf and we understand each other and the issues.
Hamris first message was 100% accurate. In order to
truly work for them it is necessary to understand the
musicians and how they work both together as a group and,
more importantly, in the wider community that they serve
in their daily life in Morocco. Their trials and
tribulations are real and matter to the music. The music
is a healing music and also evokes the emotions of the
musicians at the moment it is played. Hamri, Gysin and
Burroughs thought it magic and they may well have been
Were you able to meet
and chat with some of the elders who may have remembered
and played on the Brian Jones album?
Yes, of course. When I
first got there many of the old masters were still alive
and even the current leader Ahmed Attar, at the age of
twelve, played with Jones when he was a dancing boy and
apprentice drummer. I knew the Mujdoubi brothers Ali and
Mujehid, who were between eighty and ninety years old,
and then had free access to Berdouz (Mohamed El Attar)
the leader of the drummers, the Boukhzar and Errtoubi
families, Mohamed Mokhchan, and all the Attars including
the off shoot families like the Jagdhals.
Family ties are
intrinsically woven into the culture present in Joujouka,
The Brian Jones recordings
form part of the cultural heritage and inheritance of the
village. The musicians living and dead who played on it
mostly still have strong family connections in the
village. I am often introduced to the sons and daughters
of late great masters or former leaders of the Master
Musicians who have returned to visit their families. The
relatives of Mallim Fudal, Berdouz, Sherkin and of course
Ahmed El Attar the current leader is son of Master piper
Titi and is also the nephew of the late Hadj Abdelslam
Attar, who was lead piper in the mid seventies and the
father of Bachir Attar. El Hadj died twelve years before
I got to Joujouka. The old generation were
men with a great sense of humour. Berdouz loved sweets, I
used to meet him in the village and he always wanted
sweets. He had a demeanour like the Dalai Lama but less
complicated. A beautiful soul. I have a painting Hamri
did of Berdiouz in 1994 when I was there first. As the
years went by, on each of my returns, I was greeted with
the bad news of many musicians passing. Mohamed Mokchan
is the oldest now at 76 years. The rest of the musicians
are between the age of 45 and 65 but thankfully there are
many young musicians too.
Who were the musicians
on the albums you recorded and what did they play?
Ahmed El Attar drum and
Mohamed El Attar lira and
rhiata and vocals
Mustapha El Attar drum
Ahmed Bouhsini rhiata lira
Abdelslam Boukhzar drum
Abdelslam Errtoubi rhiata
Mujehid Mujdoubi lira
Muinier Mujdoubi drum
Muckthar Jagdhal drum and
Mohamed Mokhchan rhiata and
Abdelslam Dahnoun drum,
Abdellah Ziyat Rhiata,
El Hadj clapping and vocal
Si Ahmed violin
There are more whose names
escape me right this moment and of course Hamri sang on
the song he wrote in honour of Brian Jones, Brian
Jones Joujouka Very Stoned which is on the album Joujouka
How do the Musicians
teach and pass their skills on?
The music is part of life
in the village so people learn the tunes very young.
Playing the flute is a great way for a boy to pass the
day when minding sheep. You can hear their attempts in
the distance when in the higher mountains. Rhythm is for
dancing to and at weddings and festivals the rhythm of
Joujouka seeps into the consciousness of the young
Joujouki from the feet up.
Not every Joujouki
becomes a Master Musician though, what instruction do
those who want to be one get?
Some are soldiers,
shoemakers, shopkeepers and the rest. Hamris
brother is a weaver. If a musician wants to join the
masters he gets his first instruction at home or develops
natural ability. Later when the masters play together
young musicians join them and get instruction from the
collective group. It is a very organic and lifelong
process. The skills needed to play the rhiata and do
circular breathing are learned over years. Likewise the
complex rhythms must be learned. The repertoire of the
village forces the younger musicians to learn different
skills when playing the different types of Sufi music and
Boujeloud. Even the old musicians discuss aspects of each
others performances. Each has his own recognisable
Are you still recording
I still record music but I
have recently been filming again in the village. Last
year I began work on a DVD project when Billy Corgan came
down with me. Maki Kita, who is a talented Japanese
visual artist, filmed their Porto show and I have several
things being filmed right now in Morocco. The DVD will be
on Sub Rosas new film label and will show the real
life of the musicians and their work in Morocco as well
as abroad. The next recording project will be on a
grander scale than my early field work but it will be
recorded in the village.
You told me about a new
guest house that should be ready for the Festival in
Joujouka at the beginning of August. What stage is the
The new guest house being
built by The Master Musicians of Joujouka will be opened
on 1 August as part of the four day Festival
Sidi Ahmed Scheich de Zahjouka. It
is a small traditional Joujouka house. It has a garden
with olive trees. The musicians have long needed a new
headquarters and a place to let guests stay. This is a
great local initiative. Every year people show up
randomly in the village often at dusk and the people have
to scrabble around to try and put them up, children get
moved around to free rooms up for the unexpected guests.
The guest house will allow the musicians to put up
visitors and take bookings from small groups for short
breaks in the village.
Tell me more about the
Sidi Ahmed Scheich de Zahjouka is
now in its sixth year. It hosts readings, discussions on
culture and the arts, discussions on the local
co-operative movements and helps bring attention to the
folk arts like weaving, baking and of course The Master
Musicians of Joujouka play each night. The local
co-operative in Joujouka employs many women in
traditional arts and is a great initiative for the area.
Cash jobs for the women in the mountains are rare so this
is important as it may help some women stay in the
mountains rather than seek a livelihood in the nearby
towns of Ksar El Kebir, Larache or Tangier.
The Festival and the
guest house are both very important for the village to
survive. How will the guest house be booked?
Anyone who wants to go
should email firstname.lastname@example.org and
they will be forwarded to a local who speaks French and
English. They will take their bookings, arrange to meet
them and bring them to the village if necessary. Visitors
will experience a unique Morocco with the Master
Musicians of Joujouka in an ethical and sustainable way.
All money will be paid directly to the musicians.
From a Europeans point
of view, how much of the village of Joujouka is able to
continue with its traditions and not bow to outside
Much abides, but like
everywhere in the world, the rush towards mobile phones,
TV, and DVD is unavoidable. "Japanese shit"
Hamri called it. However there are tribal traditions that
survive all this. People from Joujouka have to have the
Masters play at their weddings and festivals. August and
September are very busy months for the Masters as many
people return to the mountains to get married. The
musicians hardly sleep all month.
And what of local crafts
The diet in Joujouka is
generally home produced and the olive oil is second to
none. In a world where people pay premium for organic,
Joujouka is and always has been organic. The food tastes
great. The people know about the quality of food. However
the price of some local items is quite high. Very good
mountain honey can cost $20 a litre in the village. It is
used medicinally. Manufactured plastic goods are a big
problem and threat to local crafts. The weaving of mats
and rugs, blankets and traditional high quality wool has
been affected by cheap Chinese plastic versions. I think
that the Master Musicians of today are very firm in what
they want to preserve in their culture but they know that
the only way to keep young people active in the arts is
for them to have a credible income from their work.
And how far has the
village embraced the 21st century?
In the last few years
electricity has reached Joujouka. Therefore the people
have light and some have TVs and DVDs. The mobile phone
has also arrived; indeed Joujouka has a large mast. The
musicians have all seen the internet and see their
Myspace and website when they visit Ksar El Kebir. The
young people learn French in school which is a big
development there. The road has been paved and is no
longer in danger of being washed away with every rain.
This means Joujouka has a taxi service linking it with
Ksar El Kebir. These are recent developments and it is
unclear how much the change will be. I think it will
influence the children more but they still grow up in
those remote hills. That in itself has a balancing
And there we bring the
interview to an end. That was a fascinating and
incredible story Frank, thank you for telling
it..............There is much to deliberate and meditate
on. This music, culture and spirituality, has incredible
historical connections, resonance and power. I cannot
overstate how much so.
To hear the albums Frank talks
about buy them from their online shop<a
The Destroy All Rational
Thought DVD, directed by Frank Rynne and <a
Ambrose</a>, contains incredible footage from the
Here To Go Show, including such influential Beat
scenesters as William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Hamri and
the Master Musicians of Joujouka, amongst many, many
others connected to the Gysin/Burrough`s Tangier Beat
Axis. The DVD contains one of the last interviews given
by William Burroughs, as well as previously unseen
footage of him from the 50`s and 60`s, a slide show of
paintings exhibited by Gysin and Burroughs, the music of
Bill Laswell, Frank`s band The Baby Snakes, Islamic
Diggers as well as texts and contributions by key writers
Terry Wilson, Ira Cohen, Joe Ambrose, Brion Gysin and
Burroughs. It is available from The Master of Musicians
website and distributed by Screen Edge.
The 6th Festival Sidi Ahmed
Schiech De Joujouka
From 1-4 Aug 2007 the 6th
annual festival will take place in Joujouka. The Master
Musicians of Joujouka will perform daily. Writers,
artists, local officials and members of local
cooperatives etc will discuss culture, writing, art and
the preservation of mountain life in the unique setting
of the Joujouka village. The Master Musicians of Joujouka
have supported this festival since it began and perform
each day. They welcome the local initiatives which give
employment to local women engaged in local crafts which
the festival promotes. The festival seeks to highlight
the native traditional crafts and art forms in the Ahl
Srif Djebel. At the centre of each days events are the
performances of The Master Musicians of Joujouka. All
Welcome. Accommodation limited in Joujouka but available
in Ksar El Kebir and Larache. The Master Musicians new
guest house will be officially opened during this
The Master Musicians have a
as well as a <a
page</a>, where there is lots more information.
For info on booking
accommodation in Joujouka or The Master Musicians of
Joujouka email email@example.com
interview with Frank Rynne and Joe Ambrose is a no holds
barred detailed discussion about the film Destroy All
Rational Thought. It documents the Here To Go Show they
organised in Dublin in 1992, which celebrates the work of
Brion Gysin and William S. Burroughs. Read<a
1</a> and <a
2</a> of the interview on <a