Jilala is one of those cultural forms, little represented in academia and not at all in the popular knowledge. Not that the participants seek global recognition, but we all have the right to expect our culture to live on with our descendants. This ancient trance music is not dead and gone, but change is inevitable and we of the western world are blind to the cultural facets lost in our race forwards.
Change is a constant, but what is most important here is that the nature of humanity remains the same. Throughout time and place, we all have the same needs and desires. We could speak of food and sex, but I would rather reference the search for communication and connection with others, our need to be a part of something larger than ourselves. We all seek moments where we become one with the sublime.
Stemming from Morocco, Jilala a Confraternity using practices of a ritual and music meant to induce trance. Said to banish evil spirits and to heal the sick.
I became involved with documenting this music during an ethnomusical trip in Morocco to catalogue and record this and other local musical forms. For the access to this traditionally closed culture and for translation I owe Fouad El Baidouri (Trip Leader) and Alaa Zouiten (Ethnomusicologist).