Long Way Down - Soundtrack To The TV Series From Real World Records

B'Net Houariyat

B'Net Houariyat image

B'net Houariyat was formed by five women from the region of Marrakech. The image of women as represented by the music of B'net Houariyat reflects the multiple facets of Islam and the female condition, above and beyond the stereotypes, with emotion, humor and energy.

The impact of the voices is strengthened both by percussive backing and by dance. The drums beat out a changing pattern of polyrhythms with the women singing across the beat, using call and response to heighten the tension.

The lead singer, Malika Mahjoubi, could have been born to sing the blues - any language barrier is surmounted by the emotional impact of her voice. Like the Gnawa Musicians, the B'Net come from a Sufi Muslim background, and their music is similar in that the singers aim to achieve a trance-like, ecstatic state.

The difference here, of course, is that the singers are women. The group's name translates as "girls of the house", unmarried women whose status gives them free rein to sing about love in a male-dominated society. Their songs and movements are a symbol of free expression and, unusually, these songs come not just from the rural Berber tradition, but also from the urban areas such as Marrakech. There is no restraint in the music of the B'Net Houariyat: it is a celebration of the self and of love.