photo: Simone Bertuzzi

An Italian in Casablanca

Blogger Simone Bertuzzi wrote us from Morocco where he tried to release new recordings of the Master Musicians of Joujouka. The cassettes did not arrive yet. But he brought us nice tracks and pics.


It's raining in Casablanca. I'm in Morocco again, exactly one year later. I'm releasing a tape with some recordings of the Master Musicians of Joujouka I did last year during MMOJ festival - here a post I did about 2010 edition of the festival (only in italian). This is the first public announcement but in fact I'm working on it since last september.

The project became even more interesting when I discovered that Dj /Rupture and Maga Bo were working on a project called Beyond Digital, based in Morocco and precisely Casablanca. This is the reason why I'm here.

The Side A of the tape will include a mix - titled «Dreamachine» - I did with the Master Musicians of Joujouka and other field recordings from the souk of Tangier and Gnoua musicians I met.

The Side B will host a mix by Rupture and Bo mixing berber pop, tribal guarachero and other stuff from their amazing archive of global music.

As long as the roots of the project are in Morocco I decided to print the cassettes here. Today I'll meet Imad from Fesmaatic - a record label and studio recording from Fes. He'll print the tapes in a couple of days. I'll see what happens, and I drink hot mint tea.

Track not available anymore.

«La Gasolina» is coming from a shop nearby. The same song I danced in Venice on a boat for the Venice Biennale. What will happen when a taxi driver will play a Luzmila Carpio tune from Peru, selected by Rupture for my tape? My hope is that the music contained will travel as much as possible here, building connections and passions. I'll see what happens.

photo: Simone Bertuzzi
photo: Simone Bertuzzi


Tapes are in print. Fesmaatic (a printing company and record label which releases many Moroccan contemporary music) is doing its best to try to give me 100 copies by this afternoon.


I will leave for Joujouka tomorrow early morning and will stay there for the first night of the festival, looking forward to it. I will receive part of the tapes directly in Italy, I will collect them in a parking lot somewhere in Milan - It's been actually a very long process. It's mid July now and I'm still waiting for the tapes. One thing I understood is that communicating through email - or on distance in general - with this company is almost impossible. I am terribly worried - I have sent the money in advance.

Casablanca is tough. It's a huge city and you can feel it in every movement you do. I bought a lot of tapes, cds and 7"s. Just arrived from the shop Le Comptoir Marocain. Yesterday I bought some stuff from Fesmaatic like Maghreb mixes and some chaabi stuff. You can easily find some mp3 cdrs for 5 Dh, I got one which have only a picture of a weird snake and a fat man, another guy is holding a rifle and is pointing toward them; no info of any kind included. I will listen (or watch, should it be a video cd? – It actually was a video cd containing a documentary about animals. 

photo: Simone Bertuzzi


I'm on the flight back to Milan. I spent the latest 24 hours in Joujouka for the first night of MMOJ festival organized as usual by Frank Rynne (here the report of last years edition and a report from my days in Tangier - in italian).

I won’t talk about MMOJ performance, it’s been astonishingly hypnotic. I prefer to give a brief presentation of the people who were attending it, considering the long Joujouka pilgrimages history. Instead of going back again through the past I find more interesting to record in real time what’s happening now.

I’m only randomly listing people I met:

– a French guy, DJ and gardener, we had awesome conversations about an Indian island where he spend two/three months every year;
– an American ethnomusicologist who is spending a year in Tétouan (Morocco) to do research on Moroccan music for his PhD;
– an Indian artist and performer – who’s living in Providence, RI at the moment – also spending a couple of months in Morocco doing research for her work;
– a family from Belgium (dad with son and daughter); the father is a photographer and runs a visual communication agency. Here a visual essay he did after the trip to Joujouka
– the english group, composed by the friends I met already last year (about five or six people who came for the latest editions came back again this year) and other three/four guys, one of them in Morocco until the end of the month for the Gnoua festival in Essaouira;
– two guys from Greece for the third time in Joujouka, always pleasant discussions about politics, pornography and Venice Biennale (the topics weren’t necessarly connected).

I also list people I remember from last year, I think about building a cartography of the people who went to Joujouka during the past forty years would be very interesting.

Anyway, here’s last year team:

– a German journalist with his wife, we shared the same house and had awesome breakfasts together. He published the only encyclopedia available in German language about reggae and Jamaican music;
– a keyboard player (member of the fusion jazz band Spyro Gira) now teaching music in Upstate NY;
– an Irish journalist and reporter (unfortunately I missed him this year, he arrived a couple of hours after I left the village). His voice is also featured on the tape I’m releasing, I’ve recorded him while he was telling a magic tale from one of his experiences in Congo;
– one of the founders of the UK band Loop, now engaged in solo projects related to musique concrète, with his girlfriend, also a musician.

photo: Simone Bertuzzi

About the rest of the trip, Fesmaatic finally couldn't make it, so I'll receive the tapes directly to Milan hopefully in the beginning of next week (- this did not happen as we know by now …). After that I'll start to promote the release properly with an official release date and info sheet.

I’m looking forward to know how will the reaction be at Glastonbury Festival, where The Master Musicians of Joujouka will play before U2, BB King, Wu Tang Clan and many more.

Track not available anymore.

photo: Simone Bertuzzi

Published on July 29, 2011

Last updated on January 15, 2020

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