Club d’Elf’s latest album You Never Know, the third over the course of its twenty-plus year career is entire without simplicity: and that’s a good thing. Founder and multi-instrumentalist Mike Rivard upped his game to reimagine Frank Zappa’s “King Kong” as well as the Miles Davis/Joe Zawinul collaboration “In A Silent Way”/”It’s About That Time.” Add along a concoction of mysterious grooves and sweltering improvisational sprints, and we have one of 2023’s most ambitious 75 minutes of album-worthy material.
One of the true nuggets of You Never Know is the “Lalla Aisha in Jhaptal” a mash up of Moroccan gnawa, House music and North Indian Hundustani musical elements. Rivard based the song on a version of the traditional song “Hamdushi” that he learned from gnawa legend Hassan Hakmoun who has guested with the band over the years.
Glide is premiering this latest video for Lalla Aisha in Jhaptal” (below) where Rivard and his cohorts including instrumentalist/singer Brahim Fribgane, keyboardist John Medeski and guitarist Dave Fiuczynski fuse a brew of hypnotic beats, urgent vocals, and Afrobeat leaning musical workouts to make for an encapsulating world music clinic.
“The song is an anomaly in the gnawa pantheon, as it’s in a 5/4 meter. We combined it with the Hindustani rhythm called jhaptal, which is also in five. Tabla player Amit Kakthekar grew up in that tradition, and as a student of tabla masters Allah Rakha and Zakir Hussain, he learned to recite the syllables or “bols” that correspond to each stroke of the drum. In the breakdown section he performs a recitation doubled by DJ Mister Rourke. As far as I know, it’s the first time a turntablist has ‘scratched’ bols before,” describes Rivard.
(Animation and art by A.Minor)