AMAZZER: AHWASH

COLLABORATIONS & ENCOUNTERS:

Michael Castalan

Touda Ibourk

Khadija Ibourk

LEARNING AHWASH WITH HICHAM OUNAMIR & VISIT AT IBOURK FAMILY IN AMAZZER // 6-12.03.2023

GLITTER AND DESPAIR

Hosted by Hicham Ounamir’s family, we are learning generosity and respect for unpredictability.

We are taken care of and the whole space invaginates us, it carries all the voices, even the most subtle ones. We learn Ahwash songs and their choreographies, listening to the multilayered sounds and contexts around us.

The feeling of deep time enters our blood circulation, we pulsate together.

ABOUT AHWASH

“The term aḥwash refers to several local varieties of a Berber rural collective dance in which participants sing while dancing. This idiom of chanted poetry is
found in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains and the surrounding areas.

It consists of musical, poetic, choreographic and behavioral elements, which
are typical of the Berber culture in Morocco. Depending on subgenres and/or
localities, aḥwash singing dance is performed by men and/or women, together or separately, before an always mixed audience. The event takes place outdoors at the forum place of the village, most of the time during summer; thus it will be heard all over in the surrounding vicinity, most of all that the unison voice register is typically high and loud. The dance is very sober and gentle as to its
movements. That means that participants move their shoulders very gently up
and down and impress rhythmically measured movements and beats with their feet and clapping hands, while the part of the body between belly and hips is
kept modestly straight. These gentle moves derive from an aesthetic and moral ethos in this society: everything should be balanced.

Participants initiated into the art can improvise on both the text and the melody. Lyrics are metrically measured according to a quantitative meter. They are set to tune on a pentatonic scale
that characterizes the Tashlhiyt Berber music in general. There’s a large traditional repertory of repetitive melodies to which successive poetic lines are associated in turn. But it happens
from time to time that, in a given performance, a poet improvises at the same time a new tune associated to his/her improvised poetic text contextually
connected to the relevant socio-cultural occasion. Depending on step and stage in an aḥwash event, singing is performed either as a recitative in the
beginning, or as a measured singing accompanied with an impressive polyrhythmic
drums percussion at the end. Any leading poet may take the lead and
create an opening couple of lines, inventing his own blessing sentences that functions as the opening of the ceremony. After the opening sentences, he/she can go right to the heart of the relevant topic, according to the nature of the
event, launching thus a central theme that is characterized by its symbolic and
profound meanings.

On the semantic level, Tashlyiit Berber poetry functions on through two dimensions: the first is the overt meaning, literally determined by lexicon and
syntax, and the second, the hidden meaning encoded in
metaphorical and allegorical terms.”

 

MUSICKING WITH IBOURK FAMILY

Hicham Ounamir teaches Ahwash song

MUSICKING AS SOCIO-POLITICAL TOOL AND HEALING PRACTICE

“The training in these aesthetic qualities, in shaping harmonious independence (individual song creations…) within interdependence (binding deep structure and group momentum), are essential to ongoing social cohesion. Coming to appreciate the intensities of aesthetic and socio-somatic response and resonance, is political education.”

how could the creative-conservative intensities of musicking open up to alter-economic models, moving beyond late capitalist extraction practices and towards the idea that ‘work’ is something you do for a different nested ecosystem?

“Practices of musicking emphasize the pleasure of producing music and dance more than the production itself. In this verb form, musicking immediately becomes something that you participate in, that you are active in creating. You are not separate from the sound you are hearing or making; it is all one in the becoming polyphonic intensity.On a physical level, this includes the obvious aspects of breathing, voice, and gestural movements. Socio-somatic resonance also happens on a deeper physiological level. (…) Taking all this into account, allows to appreciate why the pleasure of making music is as significant, or even more significant than the music as a result, an outcome, an achieved milestone. (Polyphonic) Singing, bodily shaking, or similar rhythmic movements are both pleasurable and generate healing qualities.”

 

THE SURROUNDINGS

tamtzir, izri (artemisia herba-alba), mkhinza, mint, wormwood, sage, cotton, green peas, opuntia,

cultivated or growing wild by the glittery dry banks of the seasonal river

the rhythm of which has already been disrupted for several years

the sand around the seasonal river is shining like glitter under the moonlight. 

accompanied by the full moon light we are visiting fields cultivated by Hicham Ounamir’s family. we taste green peas. it is so delicious, sweet, and refreshing. yet, there is only a small piece of land cultivated now. since 2014 there have been droughts and floods so it’s more challenging to grow anything. 

the thread of the river connects with the threads of global food market chains of late capitalism – creating gaps and distances.   

water is excessively used for nearby plantation of watermelons cultivated for export, bringing challenges for local communities.

we talk about local iterations of systemic injustice that push people to migrate or use solutions that harm their surroundings like burning trash due to lack of infrastructure.

OUR PRACTICES

#6

DANCING WITH THE LAND

aUditial traces

composition:

Doom Mood

WITH THE SONGS by

WITH THE VOICES OF:

Michael Castalan

Souk

Birds, cicadas and seasonal river of Amazzer

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

Hicham, Khadija and Touda for their generous welcome into their home and their sharing of Ahwash songs and dances

we are

AT the PARTY

WE FOUND HERE

GOOD PEOPLE

WITH OUR LIPS AND OUR LIMBS

WE SING

LOVE IS ENOUGH

LOVE WITHOUT LIMITS

LOVE IS ENOUGH

THE JOY THAT WE SHARE

THE PAIN THAT WE CARRY

THE TRASH THAT WE BURN

tHE GUILT THAT WE BURRY