IZMAZ (1979) MP3/Flac

Izmaz started playing in 1976 and featured a young Ali Chouhad, who later went on to form Archach. This is beautiful, raw banjo led mountain music from the Issaffen region of Southern Morocco, and you absolutely need it. By the time the guimbri kicks in at 5:25 I'm halfway to the stars:

Any more info about this tape, and the group more generally would be much appreciated. In the meantime, get it HERE.

Update 03/04/2012!

Thanks to Hammer from Audiotopia for the wealth of info about this cassette and IZMAZ. According to Hammer, this was the group's second album - their first will follow in a later post you lucky, lucky people!

J-Card Info:
Ma Trai'eit El-Mout ('Haven't Seen Death')- Ayhaya - Anshad ('Songs').
Lalla Oumali ('Lalla What's Wrong With Me?') - Tagrist - Manfanhoul - Azoul Flak ('The Vanishing Horizons').

Mohammed Khaledi Ba'Yazid
Abdallah Al-A'arfi
L'Hassan El-Werdi
Abdelateef Fehmi
Mohammed Dammou

Birth-place: Tafroun - Casablanca 'Eddar El-Bedha', Morocco.

Chronology: Formed in the late 60's. Started playing from 1973 till late summer, 1975. Lineup changed a lot in the early 80's. Disbanded in 1986.

Description: An Amazigh-Soussian band who followed suit of an earlier Moroccan Amazigh band (Osman), that played music influenced by western pop artists and reggae lords like Bob Marley.
The style became known as Tazinzart; a Ghwenai kinda fusion of rock and traditional 'Ruweis' sounds. Izmaz started as a theatrical group featuring friends Mohammed Khaledi (known as Ba'Yazid), and Abdallah Al-A'arfi (known as 'El-Maghreb') with a third member L'Hassan El-Werdi O'Salim playing their lotar/rabab/naqous traditional instruments.

They left Tefrawat the small village where they all hailed from and moved to Casablanca contacting Ali Shouhad: a well-known musician from Issafen Nit Haroun district near Tata town who lived in Zangat Louzitania, and used to frequent a cafe-lietraire in Casablanca called Le Joie. Ali Shouhad showed interest in joining them. Moulawi Ali joined them finally in 1976 after relocating to Casablanca.

Their early days of performing together were in 1973, singing at Moroccan popular celebrations like King Hassan II's Ascendance to the throne, and some private public parties. The band decided then to go full-circle with the public, naming their selves first in 1975 Inrin. Their first successful concert playing as Izmaz took place at The Public Theatre celebrating The Green March revolution. Later on in 1977 Mohammed Dammou joined as a gnawist along with ex-member Ibrahim Koko who performed with the band in one cassette album before quitting them.

In 1979, Ali Shouhad left the band to form Archach, and Fehmi Abdelateef took Ali's place as a percussionist. The band toured France and Belgium later that year, playing for the Moroccan immigres. In 1986, a piracy-related court case was held against some company who copied their cassette albums without the group's consent. The case dragged on for years, causing most members (Mohammed Dammou) to leave disbanding Izmaz, ultimately.

1.) EL-Sakhi Disc 'Rouatagh Ik Inmon' - 1978.
2.) Sharitifon 'Izmaz' - 1979.

-Izmaz is credited to inventing a new 'meld' instrument which joined three already established ones (Rbab Soussi/Lotar/Tssouissit) into one instrument.
-Ali Shouhad is credited for forming a 100-strong Amazighian symphony which was such a feat musically speaking at that time.