Paul Bowles is an American expatriate composer, author, and translator. In 1947 Bowles settled in Tangier, Morocco, and his wife Jane Bowles followed in 1948. Tangier was Bowles’ home for the remainder of his life. He came to symbolize American expatriates in the city.
Paul Bowles “Music of Morocco” originally printed by the US Library of Congress in 1972, is one of the more rare LPs record collectors have sought over the years. I have been collecting records for over 12 years now and still have not come across an original copy.
On April 1st 2016 Dust to Digital Records is releasing a box set featuring that original double album plus unreleased music from Bowles’ 1959 recordings.
The four CD set features over four hours of music. It also includes a 120-page leatherette book featuring an introduction from Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo, Bowles’ original field notes, and annotations by Philip Schuyler. Packaged in a silk screen cigar box this will be a special addition to any music connoisseur’s collection.
From July to December 1959, Paul Bowles crisscrossed Morocco making recordings of traditional music under the auspices of the Library of Congress. Although the trip occupied less than six months in a long and busy career, it was the culmination of Bowles’s longstanding interest in North African music. The resulting collection remained a musical touchstone for the rest of his life and an important part of his mythology.
“The pieces with the greatest, and those with the smallest amount, of Arabic influence, are both to be found, strangely enough, in the same country: Morocco. This region’s contact with Europe has been that of conqueror: in its decline it has been comparatively unmolested by industrial Europe. By virtue of this, also because it once had colonies in Mauritania and Senegal, and thus has a fair amount of admixture of Negro culture, it is richer in musical variety and interest than Algeria and Tunisia. In the latter countries there is plenty of music, but in Morocco music is inescapable.” — Paul Bowles