Paul Bowles in Morocco: The Lost Recordings

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Bandcamp Daily

Paul Bowles in Morocco

In 1959 the American author Paul Bowles, in self-imposed exile in Tangier, captured hundreds of hours of stunning Moroccan folk music. When the Library of Congress finally got around to pressing some of these field recordings as a double album in 1972, few imagined that the rest would ever be distributed to the listening world. Bowles himself imagined that a six-record set might do justice to his half-year expedition, financed by a $6,800 Rockefeller Foundation grant. In the late ’90s, however, the ethnomusicologist Philip D. Schuyler seized the opportunity to revisit Bowles’s recordings—some 250 musical examples recorded in 22 locations on an Ampex 601 tape recorder—for this revised and expanded edition Bowles approved only months before his death in November 1999. He had spent more than half his life in Tangier. Bowles’s complete immersion in Moroccan culture is evident not only in these recordings, but in his fiction. His most…

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