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  • Jonathan Glasser

Edmond Yafil was a key figure in the early 20th-century Algerian revival of Andalusi music, a high-prestige urban performance tradition linked to medieval Muslim Spain. Yafil's experiments with printing, transcription, audio recording, amateur associations, concert-hall performance, and new composition helped transform the production, consumption, and circulation of Andalusi music. Although Yafil was widely respected, his reputation was fraught with ambiguity during his lifetime and has remained so since. While not divorced from his position as a Jew in turn of the century Algiers, Yafil's ambiguity is best understood within the context of the complex Andalusi musical milieu of his day. This study of Yafil shows revival to have been a gloss for a partial but far-reaching shift in the social basis of Andalusi music making and calls for a broader rethinking of the familiar concept of revival in North Africa and the Middle East and beyond.

Corresponding author
Jonathan Glasser is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Va.; e-mail:
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Author's note: This research was supported by the American Institute for Maghrib Studies, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the Wenner–Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and the Frankel Center for Jewish Studies and Rackham Graduate School at the University of Michigan. This article has benefited from the comments of the IJMES anonymous peer reviewers and of Julia Clancy-Smith, Beth Baron, and Sara Pursley.

1 For a classic treatment of revival in all three domains, see Hourani, Albert, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age, 1798–1939 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1962).

2 For a recent work on the Ibadi nahḍa in Zanzibar and Algeria in the late 19th and first half of the 20th centuries, see Ghazal, Amal N., Islamic Reform and Arab Nationalism: Expanding the Crescent from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean (1880s–1930s) (London: Routledge, 2010).

3 See, for example, Kuzar, Ron, Hebrew and Zionism: A Discourse Analytic Study (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2001), 120. For an example that focuses on millenarianism rather than on revival per se, see Cole, Juan R. I., Modernity and the Millennium: The Genesis of the Baha'i Faith in the Nineteenth-Century Middle East (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998); and “Millenialism in Modern Iranian History,” in Imagining the End: Visions of Apocalypse from the Ancient Middle East to Modern America, ed. Abbas Amanat and Magnus Bernhardsson (London: I. B. Tauris, 2002), 282–311.

4 For an acknowledgment of both possibilities, see Wallace's, Anthony F. C. treatment of revival as a form of revitalization: “Revitalization Movements,” American Anthropologist 58 (1956): 264–81.

5 For an incisive summary of these trends, see Nickels, Benjamin P., “France and Algeria at War: Nation, Identity, and Memory,” History: Reviews of New Books 38 (2010): 119–24.

6 McDougall, James, History and the Culture of Nationalism in Algeria (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 2832.

7 Andalusi music is an umbrella term for a variety of Maghribi urban musical traditions, all of which had and have alternative, regionally specific names. The term came to be widely used in the 20th century, but the link to al-Andalus was present in the 19th century as well, even when it was not enshrined in the name of the musical tradition.

8 There were parallel movements in Tunisia and Morocco, which both influenced and were influenced by the Algerian movement. On Tunisia, see Davis, Ruth F., Maʾlūf: Reflections on the Arab Andalusian Music of Tunisia (Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2004).

9 Bouzar-Kasbadji, Nadya, L’émergence artistique algérienne au XXe siècle: Contribution de la musique et du théâtre algérois à la renaissance culturelle et à la prise de conscience nationaliste (Algiers: Office des Publications Universitaires, 1988).

10 Carlier, Omar, “Medina and Modernity: The Emergence of Muslim Civil Society in Algiers between the Two World Wars,” in Walls of Algiers: Narratives of the City through Text and Image, ed. Çelik, Zeynep, Clancy-Smith, Julia, and Terpak, Frances (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2009), 6284.

11 I am using the term “indigenous” to refer to both Algerian Jews and Muslims despite the fact that Jews enjoyed French citizenship after the promulgation of the 1870 Crémieux Decree and indigène was an unstable term that in the French colonial context was only unevenly applied to Algerian Jews. For a discussion of the early use of the term with regard to Jews in colonial Algeria, see Schreier, Joshua, Arabs of the Jewish Faith: The Civilizing Mission in Colonial Algeria (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2010), 60.

12 An underlying influence here is Bourdieu's theory of practice, in particular his discussion of the relation between practice and discourse about practice. See Bourdieu, Pierre, Outline of a Theory of Practice, trans. Nice, Richard (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977), 1622.

13 Lakoff, George and Johnson, Mark, Metaphors We Live By (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980).

14 Rosenberg, Neil V., ed., Transforming Tradition: Folk Music Revivals Examined (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1993); Sweers, Britta, Electric Folk: The Changing Face of English Traditional Music (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005).

15 Sweers, Electric Folk, 209. For the concept of mode of production in musical contexts, see Qureshi, Regula Burckhardt, “Confronting the Social: Mode of Production and the Sublime for (Indian) Art Music,” Ethnomusicology 44 (2000): 1538; and idem, “Mode of Production and Musical Production: Is Hindustani Music Feudal?,” in Music and Marx, ed. R. Qureshi (New York: Routledge, 2000), 81–105.

16 Yafil's diversity of interests demands such elaboration of his professional roles. In Hadj Miliani's words, Yafil was “a performer, a composer, an arranger, a producer, a manager, a show organizer, a publisher, and an anthologist.” Miliani, Hadj, “Crosscurrents: Trajectories of Algerian Jewish Artists and Men of Culture since the End of the Nineteenth Century,” in Jewish Culture and Society in North Africa, ed. Gottreich, Emily Benichou and Schroeter, Daniel J. (Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 2011), 182.

17 In Arabic, Majmuʿ al-Aghani wa-l-Alhan min Kalam al-Andalus (Algiers: Yafil, 1904) and in Judeo-Arabic, Diwan al-Aghani min Kalam al-Andalus (Algiers: Yafil, 1904).

18 The association may have been organized in 1911, but its registration occurred in 1912. See Mohamed Guessal, “Les associations de musique classique maghrébine en Algérie: Histoire et répertoire” (PhD diss., Université de Paris Sorbonne, Paris IV, 1999–2000), 151; and Carlier, “Medina and Modernity,” 66. The association's founding is listed as 1911 in both Bouzar-Kasbadji, L’émergence artistique algérienne, 56; and Fawzi Saʿdallah, Yahud al-Jazaʾir: Majalis al-Tarab wa-l-Ghinaʾ (Algiers: Dar Qurtuba, 2010), 205.

19 Bouzar-Kasbadji, L’émergence artistique algérienne, 51.

20 See Desparmet, Joseph, La poésie arabe actuelle à Blida et sa métrique (Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1907), 45; al-Madani, Ahmad Tawfiq, Kitab al-Jazaʾir (Algiers: al-Matbaʿa al-ʿArabiyya, 1931), 365; “Rapport sur les émissions musulmanes à Radio PTT Alger,” Algiers, April 1940, Centre des archives d'outre mer, Aix-en-Provence, France (hereafter CAOM), 15H/32/GGA/Radio Alger.

21 Mahieddine was similarly not integrated into these lineages.

22 See Bendamèche, Abdelkader, Les grandes figures de l'art musical algérien (Algiers: Editions Cristal Print, 2003); and Hachlaf, Ahmed and Hachlaf, Mohamed Elhabib, Anthologie de la musique arabe, 1906–1960 (Paris: Publisud, 1993).

23 See, for example, Bachetarzi, Mahieddine, Mémoires 1919–1939 (Algiers: SNED, 1968), 2023.

24 See Saʿdallah's references to such views in Yahud al-Jazaʾir, 189–90.

25 See Jules Rouanet, “La musique musulmane,” La Dépêche Algérienne, 25 September 1927, 7; Office of the Governor-General, Centre d'Information et d'Etudes, “Note. A/S. d'un projet d'organisation d'un festival de musique andalouse transcrite et interprétée par un orchestre français,” Algiers, 20 September 1940, CAOM/GGA/9H/37/18; Bouzar-Kasbadji, L’émergence artistique algérienne, 43, n. 12; and Saʿdallah, Yahud al-Jazaʾir, 199.

26 Bouzar-Kasbadji, L’émergence artistique algérienne, 55.

27 Saʿdallah, Yahud al-Jazaʾir, 189–213.

28 Ibid., 194. Such a view is in keeping with Saʿdallah's overall emphasis on Muslim musical dominance in Algeria.

29 Seroussi, Edwin, “Music,” in Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World, ed. Stillman, Norman A. (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2010), 512.

30 Ibid., 514.

31 Miliani, “Crosscurrents,” 177.

32 Ibid., 183.

33 We can speculate that the dispersed and sparse nature of the documentary evidence of Yafil's career is tied to several interrelated factors: the problematic position of Algerian Jews within the postindependence national narrative, the dispersion of Algerian Jews to France and Israel, the upheaval of the decolonization process, and the fact that Yafil's memory in Algeria is preserved among people who in some cases are themselves somewhat marginalized from the nationalist narrative and the state apparatus.

34 The recuperation of a non-Weberian notion of tradition in the study of Islamic jurisprudence and revival is relevant to the approach to revival being sketched out here, although the specific connections go beyond the scope of this article. See Asad, Talal, The Idea of an Anthropology of Islam (Washington, D.C.: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University, 1986); Zaman, Muhammad Qasim, The Ulama in Contemporary Islam: Custodians of Change (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2002); Mahmood, Saba, Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2005); and Haj, Samira, Reconfiguring Islamic Tradition: Reform, Rationality, and Modernity (Palo Alto, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2009).

35 The nūba also lies at the center of the Maghrib's other Andalusi traditions although in different configurations. All of them share a suite structure that features instrumental and vocal music, song texts rooted in the strophic muwashshaḥ form, and an organization based on a set of roughly a dozen musical modes. For an overview that emphasizes musical form, see Guettat, Mahmoud, La musique classique du Maghreb (Paris: Sindbad, 1980). For a geographically and disciplinarily broader approach, see Reynolds, Dwight F., “Musical ‘Membrances of Medieval Muslim Spain,” in Charting Memory: Recalling Medieval Spain, ed. Beckwith, Stacy N. (New York: Garland Publishing, 2000), 229–62.

36 Henceforth, I refer to both the Arabic and the Judeo-Arabic versions as the Diwan. “Song” is an imperfect translation. As in many musical contexts, the Algerian Andalusi case has no overarching term equivalent to the English-language “song.” Instead, there are various names that are closely connected to genre names. In the case of the nūba, an individual poetic text is sometimes called a ṣanʿa; ṣanʿa also happens to be a name for the nūba tradition.

37 See, for example, Shaw, Thomas, Travels, or Observations Relating to Several Parts of Barbary and the Levant (Oxford: n.p., 1738); Pananti, Filippo, Narrative of a Residence in Algiers (London: Henry Colburn: 1818); and Broughton, Elizabeth, Six Years in Algiers (London: Saunders and Otley, 1839).

38 For the 1860s, see Christianowitsch, Alexandre, Esquisse historique de la musique arabe aux temps anciens (Cologne: Dumony–Schauberg, 1863); and Daniel, Francisco Salvador, La musique arabe: Ses rapports avec la musique grècque et le chant grégorien (Algiers: Adolphe Jourdane, 1879), which was first printed in the Revue Africaine in 1862 and 1863. See also Delphin, G. and Guin, L., Notes sur la poésie et la musique arabes dans le Maghreb algérien (Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1886). Probably because the Andalusi repertoire is at the top of a long-standing hierarchy of urban musical genres, it received much of the attention in 19th-century musicological works. But note that the collection efforts of the Saint-Simonian Adolphe Hanoteau were focused on Kabyle Berber songs. See Goodman, Jane E., Berber Culture on the World Stage: From Village to Video (Bloomington and Indianapolis, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 2005), 97119. European scholarly attention to music in North Africa and the Middle East went back at least as far as the Napoleonic occupation of Egypt. See Villoteau, G. A., “De l’état actuel de l'art musical en Egypte,” in Description de l'Egypte: Etat moderne (Paris: E. F. Jomard, 1809), 607845; and Lane, E. W., An Account of the Manner and Customs of the Modern Egyptians (London: Charles Knight and Co., 1836).

39 Abi-Mershed, Osama W., Apostles of Modernity: Saint-Simonians and the Civilizing Mission in Algeria (Palo Alto, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2010), 168.

40 Francisco Salvador Daniel, Album de douze chansons arabes, mauresques et kabyles (Paris: Richault et Cie Editeurs, n.d.); Christianowitsch, Esquisse de la musique arabe.

41 For transcriptions that appeared outside the governmental milieu, and may in fact have been at least partially aimed at Algerians familiar with staff notation, see the two examples by M. Bouaziz (Abu ʿAziz), an Algerian Jew working in the 1880s, in one case collaborating with a settler from the Bouaziz, Alsace. M. and Keil, Martz, A Monsieur I. Stora Président Honoraire du Consistoire d'Alger: Inqilab Jarka/Djarka (Algiers: Mme Tachet, 1886[?]); and Bouaziz, M., Musique arabe, mode Darj Lahcine (Algiers: Leopold Palat, n.d.).

42 The bulk of these manuscripts are in private collections, but see the manuscripts numbered 1811–1815 in the Bibliothèque Nationale d'Algérie, as well as the Leiden manuscript 14169, cited in Shiloah, Amnon, “Pe'ilutam Shel Musikayim Yehudim ba-Musika ha-Klasit ha-Algerit ṿe-ba-Sugot she-Hist'afu Mimenah,” Pe'amim 91 (2002): 59. An exception to the collection created for performers and connoisseurs was the one created at the request of a military officer stationed in Tlemcen. See al-Jawahir al-Hisan fi Nazm Awliyaʾ Tilimsan, Bibliothèque Nationale de France Or. 5254. Some poetry compilations likely shared the fate of other manuscripts that were destroyed over the course of the French conquest. On the destruction of manuscripts, see “Rapport préliminaire sur la mission de Mr. A. Berbrugger, à Constantine,” Algiers, 30 November 1837, CAOM/F80/1733; Cour, Auguste, Catalogue des manuscrits arabes conservés dans les principales bibliothèques algériennes. Médersa de Tlemcen (Algiers: Typographie Adolphe Jourdan, 1907), 7; E. Reynaud, Pelissier de, Annales algériennes, vol. 1 (Paris: Anselin et Taultier-Laguione, 1836–39), 79, quoted in Ruedy, John, Land Policy in Colonial Algeria: The Origins of the Rural Public Domain (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1967), 14.

43 Some of the prominent performers were barbers, silversmiths, and weavers. See, for example, Bougherara, Hadri, Voyage sentimentale en musique arabo-andalouse (Paris: Editions Paris-Méditerranée, 2000), 13, 95.

44 For mention of amateur musicianship, see Pananti, Narrative of a Residence in Algiers, 266–67. See also Christianowitsch, Esquisse de la musique arabe, 4–6, as well as the preface to Yafil, Majmuʿ al-Aghani wa-l-Alhan.

45 I use the masculine gender here deliberately, because the five-movement nūba was marked as a male repertoire until the advent of women's participation in the amateur association system in the 1970s. Nevertheless, at least one early 20th-century female performer, Yamina bint al-Hajj al-Mahdi, made recordings of “heavy” movements from the nūba repertoire. For more on the configuration of the nūba and social differentiation, see n. 52.

46 This does not imply that the Moroccan manuscripts were entirely standardized. In fact, there are significant differences between the various compilations that are named for their eponymous compiler, al-Haʾik.

47 See esp. Christianowitsch, Esquisse de la musique arabe, 6. “Master” is a translation of both shaykh and maʿallim (in classical Arabic, muʿallim), used largely interchangeably as titles for professional musicians in North Africa, in the Andalusi milieu and beyond.

48 Christianowitsch, Esquisse de la musique arabe, 6.

49 See in particular Christianowitsch, Esquisse de la musique arabe; Delphin and Guin, Notes sur la poésie et la musique arabes, 63–64; ʿAli, Ghawthi Abu [Bouali, Ghouti], Kashf al-Qinaʿ ʿan Alat al-Samaʿ (Algiers: Imprimerie Jourdane, 1904), 3; Yafil, Majmuʿ al-Aghani wa-l-Alhan; and Rouanet, Jules, “La musique arabe dans le Maghreb,” in Encyclopédie de la musique et dictionnaire du Conservatoire (Paris: Delagrave, 1922), 2913.

50 Delphin and Guin, Notes sur la poésie et la musique arabes, 63–64. The inṣirāf and khlāṣ or makhlaṣ, the last two movements of the nūba in the Algiers–Tlemcen configuration, are marked as lighter than the mṣaddar, btayḥī, and darj, which are the nūba's first three movements. The inṣirāf and khlāṣ could be more frequently heard in the cafés than could the first three movements. It should also be noted that the inṣirāf and khlāṣ are forms that have long been shared with other urban genre complexes that are marked as lighter than the Andalusi repertoire and that are associated with both female and male professional performers. On the café maure as a site of male sociality in Algeria over the longue durée, including as a site of musical activity, see Carlier, Omar, “Le café maure: Sociabilité masculine et effervescence citoyenne,” Annales: Économies, Sociétés, Civilisations 45 (1990): 9751003.

51 For an early 19th-century traveler's account of such elite amateur music making and patronage, see Pananti, Narrative of a Residence in Algiers, 266–67.

52 Such homologies between the high-status professional or semi-professional, on the one hand, and the dilettante high-status patron, on the other, did not preclude occasionally antagonistic relations between the two. The closer the status, the more the structural difference between patron and performer can be highlighted and become the site of struggles and reversals, particularly when the patron doubles as the performer's student or when the patron's knowledge may appear to be commensurate with the performer's. For a mention of cases in which the patron's knowledge exceeded the performer's, to the latter's detriment, see Guerbas, Rachid, “Chant et musique de la Nawba ou Nûba algérienne,” Horizons Maghrébins: Le Droit à la Mémoire 47 (2002): 26. Performance in this sense can be thought of as a form of agonistic exchange.

53 See Rouanet, “La musique arabe dans le Maghreb,” 2913; and Bouzar-Kasbadji, L’émergence artistique algérienne, 43, n. 11.

54 It is not clear if his father and Hajj Ibrahim were social equals or if in fact his father was Hajj Ibrahim's patron and student.

55 Christianowitsch, Esquisse de la musique arabe, 4–5.

56 Abu ʿAli, Kashf al-Qinaʿ, 108.

57 For a discussion of photography in 19th-century Algiers, see Frances Terpak, “The Promise and Power of New Technologies: Nineteenth-century Algiers,” in Walls of Algiers, ed. Çelik et al., 87–133.

58 It should also be noted that there were parallel movements of musical reform through the medium of print occurring in Egypt, particularly through the work of Kamil al-Khulaʿi. See Racy, A. J., Making Music in the Arab World: The Culture and Artistry of Tarab (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).

59 Colonna, Fanny, “Scientific Production and Position in the Intellectual and Political Fields: The Cases of Augustin Berque and Joseph Desparmet,” in Genealogies of Orientalism: History, Theory, Politics, ed. Burke, Edmund III and Prochaska, David (Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska Press, 2008), 182.

60 J. Desparmet, “Nubat al-Andalus,” Le Tell: Journal Politique et des Intérêts Coloniaux, 27 February 1904. This was the first of eight installments, the last of which appeared on 2 July 1904.

61 Desparmet, La poésie arabe actuelle à Blida.

62 Abu ʿAli, Kashf al-Qinaʿ, 108.

63 Ibid., 4.

64 Ibid., 126–29.

65 Desparmet, La poésie arabe actuelle à Blida, 27.

66 See, for example, Sonneck, C., ed., Chants arabes du Maghreb: Etude sur le dialecte et la poésie populaire de l'Afrique du Nord (Paris: J. Maisonneuve, 1902), as well as the collection of Kabyle songs published by Si Ammar Ben Saʿid Boulifa (Abu Lifa) in 1904, discussed at length in Goodman, Berber Culture on the World Stage, 97–119. See also Mohammed Ben Cheneb, Proverbes arabes de l'Algérie et du Maghreb (Paris: Leroux, 1905).

67 For France, see Darnton, Robert, “Peasants Tell Tales: The Meaning of Mother Goose,” in The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History (New York: Vintage Press, 1984), 974. For Britain, see Sweers, Electric Folk. For India, see Weidman, Amanda, Singing the Classical, Voicing the Modern: The Postcolonial Politics of Music in South India (Durham, N.C.: Duke University, 2006).

68 Merad, Ali, “L'enseignement politique de Muhammad ʿAbduh aux algériens (1903),” Orient 28 (1963): 92, n. 16; Oulebsir, Nabila, Les usages du patrimoine: Monuments, musées et politique coloniale en Algérie (Paris: Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, 2004), 335. See, for example, the Arabic panegyric whose end rhyme was based on Jonnart, written by Choeib Abou-Bekr (Shuʿayb Abu Bakr), a reformist qadi from Tlemcen, on the occasion of the 1905 Orientalist Congress in Algiers. Actes du XIVe Congrès International des Orientalistes Alger 1905, vol. 3 (Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1906), 592–93.

69 Pouillon, François, Dictionnaire des orientalistes de langue française (Paris: Editions Karthala, 2008), 43.

70 For example, see LaBouthière, “La renovation des arts musulmans algériens,” September 1923, CAOM/10H60.

71 Seroussi, “Music,” 511.

72 Muhammad al-ʿAlami, al-Anis al-Mutrib fi man Laqiyahu min Udabaʾ al-Maghrib (Fes: n.p., 1897).

73 Note, too, that there were European enthusiasts of Andalusi music. There is an evocative description of Europeans among Sfindja's café audience that dates from 1902; such Europeans, sometimes known as m'tournis (renegades) for their adoption of indigenous habits and tastes, clearly caused some anxiety for the author of this description. See “Chroniques algériennes: Les M'tournis,” Le Temps, 8 February 1902, 3.

74 CAOM, L'Etat civil, (accessed 12 March 2011).

75 For a description of Sfindja's café performance, see “Chroniques Algériennes: Les M'tournis,” 3. Unfortunately, we do not know the exact contents of Sfindja's repertoire in the café beyond the report that he sang Andalusi songs. It would be interesting to know if Sfindja reserved the heavier repertoire from the nūba for performances in private homes. A lack of differentiation would hint at a democratization in the repertoire's performance.

76 Rouanet, Jules, “Pour les tapis algériens,” La vie algérienne et tunisienne, Revue bimensuelle illustrée 8 (1897): 227–29.

77 Rouanet, Jules, “Esquisse pour une histoire de la musique arabe en Algérie III,” Mercure Musical 15–16 (1906): 127–50.

78 Répertoire de musique arabe et maure: Collection de mélodies, ouvertures, noubet, chansons, préludes, etc. (Algiers: Yafil and Seror, 1904). The installations concentrate on the inqilābāt, the instrumental overtures to the nūba, and the qādriyya, as opposed to the core five movements of the nūba. Yafil was closely involved with another Jewish disciple of Sfindja, Lahu Srur (Laho Seur), and some of the installments in the series list Seror as a contributor.

79 Yafil, Majmuʿ, i.

80 Ibid., iv.

81 See Sfindja's melody for “al-Qadd alladhi Sabani,” which continues to be sung in the Algiers tradition. Sfindja is said to have found the words in an old manuscript. Yafil and Rouanet, Répertoire de musique arabe et maure, no. 17. In other words, Sfindja's compositional efforts show him to have been open to innovative expansion of the repertoire and to have taken an interest in old manuscript collections that contained “orphaned” poems.

82 Documented in Actes du XIVe Congrès International des Orientalistes Alger 1905, 89–93 and in “Esquisse pour une histoire de la musique arabe en Algérie-III.” But see n. 75.

83 Rouanet, “La musique arabe dans le Maghreb,” 2912.

84 It also raises the question of what other professionals were doing at the time. Unfortunately, Sfindja is the only professional from turn of the century Algiers about whom we know much, and even that knowledge is limited.

85 In this sense, the powerful metaphor of musical revival was, at least initially, largely a matter of writing and specifically of print.

86 Rouanet, “La musique musulmane,” 7. It was also sometimes called Orchestre Rouanet et Yafil. Hachlaf and Hachlaf, Anthologie de la musique arabe, 288.

87 “Etat des sociétés existant dans la commune d'Alger,” CAOM/F41, cited in Guessal, “Les associations de musique classique maghrébine en Algérie,” 151.

88 For an overview of the political and social context of the legislative debates in France, see Bardout, Jean-Claude, L'histoire étonnante de la loi 1901: Le droit d'association en France avant et après Waldeck-Rousseau (Lyon: Editions Juris, 2001). For a discussion of indigenous associations in Algeria during the first half of the 20th century, see McDougall, James, “The Shabiba Islamiyya of Algiers: Education, Authority, and Colonial Control, 1921–57,” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 24 (2004): 565–67; Carlier, “Medina and Modernity”; and Jane E. Goodman, “Acting with One Voice: Producing Unanimism in Algerian Reformist Theater,” Comparative Studies in Society and History (forthcoming).

89 See a partial list of El Moutribia members in 1930, in CAOM/64S/44.

90 Allalou, L'aurore du théâtre algérien (1926–1932) (Oran: Université d'Oran, 1982), 12; Miliani, Hadj, “Le cheikh et le phonographe: Notes de recherche pour un corpus des phonogrammes et des vidéogrammes des musiques et des chansons algériennes,” Turath 8 (2004): 44, n. 5.

91 Yafil, Edmond, Majmuʿ Zahw al-Anis al-Mukhtass bi-l-Tabasi wa-l-Qawadis (Algiers: n.p., 1907). The creation of compilations that directly referenced audio recordings was common in Egypt at this time. See Racy, Making Music in the Arab World, 148, n. 2.

92 Desparmet, La poésie arabe actuelle à Blida, 7.

93 Competition between recordings and live performers was common. Musicians frequently refused to record out of fear for their livelihood; see Miliani, “Le cheikh et le phonographe,” 44. For an example of a female musician in Meknes, Morocco, who, during a survey of indigenous arts during the interwar period, requested that the government authorities outlaw phonographs in order to protect her profession, see “Enquête sommaire sur les principales industries d'art du Maroc,” Service des affaires indigènes, Archives Coloniales/C932, Rabat.

94 Hachlaf and Hachlaf, Anthologie de la musique arabe, 287.

95 Ibid., 285–92.

96 I acknowledge the anonymous reviewer who pointed out the proximity of these sites.

97 Bachetarzi, Mémoires, 28, 30.

98 Mahieddine provides a detailed account of his early years with Yafil in Bachetarzi, Mémoires, 26–107. For the reconstitution of El Moutribia seen through the eyes of another member, see Allalou, L'aurore du théâtre algérien, 14.

99 See, for example, Henry de Montherlant's satirical description of an El Moutribia concert in 1929. “Avant le centenaire: Musique arabe,” unattributed newspaper clipping from 13 June 1929, BNF/Départment des arts du spectacle/Ro7670.

100 Carlier mentions a certain attempt to found a Muslim association parallel to El Moutribia in 1913. Carlier, “Medina and Modernity,” 67.

101 Ruedy, John, Modern Algeria: The Origins and Development of a Nation (Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1992), 129. For a close study of this particular postwar moment, see Kaddache, Mahfoud, La vie politique à Alger (Algiers: SNED, 1970). For a discussion of the crucial role of associations in political contestation, including those that, like El Moutribia, had their roots in the pre-World War I moment, see McDougall, James, “The Secular State's Islamic Empire: Muslim Spaces and Subjects of Jurisdiction in Paris and Algiers, 1905–1957,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 52 (2010): 553–80.

102 Bouzar-Kasbadji, L’émergence artistique algérienne, 50.

103 Bachetarzi, Mémoires, 51.

104 See, for example, Bachetarzi, Mémoires, 103–104.

105 Ibid., 26–27.

106 Ibid., 41.

107 Ibid., 109. Note, however, that the authorities were suspicious of El-Djazaïria, the first predominantly Muslim music association that had its headquarters at the proto-nationalist Cercle du Progrès/Nadi Taraqi. Nevertheless, it was not the official focus of the association that worried the authorities but rather its membership and symbolic power.

108 I am grateful to the director of the Algiers Municipal Conservatory for giving me access to a 1925 roster of Yafil's class.

109 Bachetarzi, Mémoires, 61, 88.

110 Ibid., 55–57.

111 La Dépêche Algérienne, untitled announcement, 20 September 1927, 2. The publicity for these concerts made extensive use of the prestige that El Moutribia had accrued through its first full-scale tour of Paris and Europe in August 1927.

112 Rouanet, “La musique musulmane,” 7.

113 Desparmet, La poésie arabe actuelle à Blida, 4–5.

114 He did not register himself simply as arranger, as suggested by Bouzar-Kasbadji in L’émergence artistique algérienne, 46, and by Bachetarzi in Mémoires, 90. See the correspondence between representatives of Société des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Éditeurs de la Musique (SACEM) and Moroccan Protectorate officials from 1931 to 1955. The letter from SACEM to the director of indigenous affairs, dated 30 October 1931, includes two long lists of copyrighted discs that were being played in Moroccan cafés; Yafil, listed as composer, dominates both lists, which seem to be comprised of songs that Yafil recorded. In 2005, the correspondence was located in the folder marked “droits de l'auteur” in Archives diplomatiques de Nantes/Cabinet Diplomatique/494 in 2005. Titles of several of the works under Yafil's copyright are available through the SACEM search engine. See (accessed 12 March 2011).

115 Goodman, Berber Culture on the World Stage, 153.

116 Aspects of these conventions, including the rhymed title and the colophon, were not unique to the Andalusi milieu but in fact showed up in a range of printed works by European Arabists of the period, such as that of Charles Sonneck. Nevertheless, the modal and movement-based organization of the Diwan closely follows the convention of the 19th-century manuscripts. Bouzar-Kasbadji, L’émergence artistique algérienne, 43. But note that while the Diwan conforms to the model provided by the manuscript tradition, it simultaneously challenges that tradition.

117 See, for example, Makhlouf Bouchara (Makhluf Abu Shaʿkra) and Mohamed Fekhardji (Muhammad Fakharji), both of whom were the instructors at Association El Andalousia, a breakaway from El Moutribia founded in 1929. Guessal, “Les associations de musique classique maghrébine en Algérie,” 68.

118 See, for example, the location of the Cercle du Progrès/Nadi Taraqi, which housed several associations, including the Société El Djazaïria. McDougall, “The Shabiba Islamiyya of Algiers,” 149.

119 La Dépêche Algérienne, 13 September 1927, 2. Quoted without attribution in Bouzar-Kasbadji, L’émergence artistique algérienne, 43.

120 Desparmet, La poésie arabe actuelle à Blida, 4–5; al-Madani, Kitab al-Jazaʾir, 365.

121 See Groupe Yafil, (accessed 11 March 2011). Note that the website was originally conceived by creator Youssef Touaibia as an association. Personal communication, 30 May 2009.

122 In this sense, there is a certain parallel between Yafil and al-Haʾik, the eponymous compiler in the dominant Andalusi tradition of Morocco.

123 For a discussion of genre ambiguity and distributed genres, see Barber, Karin, The Anthropology of Texts, Persons, and Publics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007).

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International Journal of Middle East Studies
  • ISSN: 0020-7438
  • EISSN: 1471-6380
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