The Brotherhood of Hmadcha was founded in the late 17th century by Sidi Ali Ben Hamdouch, from the region of Meknes, Morocco, who was a contemporary of the great sultan Moulay Ismail. Part of the popular tradition called Sufism, the Brotherhood seeks to establish a direct relationship with God through ecstatic trance.
Today, throughout not only Morocco but also Algeria and Tunisia, the Brotherhood of Hmadcha accounts for fifty members in Essaouira who share their music and spirituality with the inhabitants of the city. The music they practice aims to provoke the "Hâl" ecstasy and has been passed down orally for generations – a music rich and varied which is comprised of more than thirty different melodies. The instruments used are the "gaida" (a kind of traditional oboe), the "harraz" (a long earthen drum), the "tabbal" (cylindrical wooden bass drum) and the "taârija" (very small earthen drum).
It was in 2007 when Yoram Rosilio first met Brotherhood member Abdelmalek Benhamou. Rosilio was then introduced to the other members and gradually began to study their music.
While continuing his research into combining traditional and improvised music, Rosilio organized a working residence in Essaouira, Morocco in February 2011.
It was on this occasion that the musicians of A.r.b.f. would be confronted by the music of Gnawa, Andalusian, Berber (Amazigh) and of course Hamdouchi. It is with the latter that the musical search reached its finest growth and seven musicians of the Brotherhood joined the French musicians to carry out a performance of "Hadra” revisited.
Here are a few photos from the residence in Morocco in february 2011.
During the 6xte edition of the Internationnal Festival Bombardes et Compagnie who take place every year in Brittany, A.r.b.f was invited to play with 8 musicians of the Essaouira Hmadcha Brotherhood.
Between the 7 and 14 May of 2012, four concerts were given.
Here are some images, sounds and videos from our last visit to Brittany for the International Festival of the Bombard:
After our collaboration with the Hmadcha, we recorded a new autoproduced record : Arbf & Hmadcha - Live à Essaouira, Maroc - février 2011.
More informations here.
We continue working together exploring new facets of Moroccan traditional music such as Malhun, Issawa or Chaâbi music. This is one of the themes of the project Arbf & Warshan.