The most famous of Jajouka’s visitors, of course, was Brian Jones, one of the founders of the Rolling Stones, whom Gysin took to the village in 1968. Jones took along a girlfriend, Suki Potier, and a recording engineer, George Chkiantz, who recorded examples of a variety of musics—including performances by the village women.
Jones took the tapes back to Tangier and then to London, where he began playing with them in the studio, mixing different tracks, splicing different sections together, running some of them backward, and putting it all through various filters and phase shifters. He never completed the project—he died a year to the day after his night in Jajouka—but the record was eventually released in 1971 as Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka.
The Brian Jones album has been called “the first world music recording.” If so, it was well ahead of its time. The term “world music” first appeared as a commercial category in the late 1980s, although the expression (not to mention the music) had been around for some time before that. The World Music Institute (WMI), for example, was founded in New York in fall 1985 to present concerts of a wide range of different musics, from blues and avant-garde jazz to flamenco, Mauretanian popular song, and Central Asian art music. WMI’s founder, Robert Browning, traces the expression back to Bob Brown, who is said to have coined the phrase in the 1970s at Wesleyan University as an alternative to “ethnomusicology,” a term he regarded as stodgy. Nevertheless, according to the editors of World Music: The Rough Guide,
The name was dreamed up in 1987 by the heads of a number of small London-based record labels…initially as a month-long marketing plan to impress music shops, the critics, and buyers that here were sounds worth listening to. The name stuck, however, and was swiftly adopted at records stores and festivals, in magazines and books, on both sides of the Atlantic. (Broughton et al. 1994, introduction).
A look at the diverse offerings in the WMI calendar or the catalog of Realworld, Rykodisk, or any similar record label suggests that the term “world music” is intentionally inclusive and amorphous, promising only that a given concert or recording will be different, different from what one is used to listening to, different even or especially, from other world-music items. Even so, Timothy Taylor (1997, 19–31) has discerned a number of common themes used in marketing recordings in this category, among them, claims of authenticity in style, primality in emotion, spirituality in content (and in packaging), and celebrity in production and promotion. Each of these elements was, in fact, embodied in the very title of the first “Joujouka” recording. First comes Brian Jones, the deceased rock star and producer, followed by Pan, the god of delirium who goes back to the roots of European civilization and the bowels of human emotion, followed, finally, by the name of the village. In contrast to most ethnographic recordings of the time, the country of origin is not mentioned at all, but the group is treated as a starring act. In short, if it was not actually the first world-music recording, Brian Jones Presents was certainly a harbinger of later work by David Byrne, Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, and others. It also proved to be a watershed in the West’s approach to Jajouka.
Although Gysin himself was clearly attracted by the Gnostic mysteries of the village, his friends were more stimulated by, as Burroughs succinctly put it, “drugs and sex.” Burroughs did not need to specify that, in the 1950s and early 1960s, the sex was homosexual. But that began to change with the Jones visit when, for the first time, a woman joined the entourage. Gysin (who later claimed that he couldn’t even remember Suki Potier’s last name) objected that Jajouka was “no place for a woman,” and when Jones insisted that she come, Gysin made her cut her hair and wear trousers. Gysin was, perhaps, right to be worried. In the wake of the Brian Jones visit—and, above all, the subsequent recording and press coverage—the number of visitors to the village increased dramatically, and many were not the sort that Gysin approved of. As a group, the new visitors could be characterized as hippies rather than Beats. The most famous among them were musicians, not writers, and the writers practiced journalism, not literature. At the same time, the sex changed from homosexual to heterosexual, and the emblematic drug of the visitors changed from heroin to LSD, although, of course, marijuana remained a constant (and not all visitors were drug users).
After Brian Jones, one could say that the rest is history, but the beginning of history is not necessarily the end of myth. Whereas Gysin was capable of tempering his enthusiastic exaggerations and acknowledging his ideas as speculations (complete with supporting sources), others have tended to dispense with the scholarly pedigree and caution, distill the story to its most spectacular essence, and present it all as fact. Thus, for example, Robert Palmer (1971), writing in Rolling Stone, elevated the musicians from their (possible) status as royal retainers: “The musicians have always been an aristocratic group—Arabic rather than Berber-speaking, and set apart from the majority of the villagers.” Although many journalists have identified the Jajoukans as Berbers, Palmer is correct that they are, in fact, Arabic speakers, but so is the great majority of the population for a hundred kilometers around. He is also right that they are set apart from the rest of the villagers, but their profession would be more likely to make them outcasts than aristocrats.
Similarly, Ornette Coleman, who recorded in the village in 1973, proclaimed that the music was six thousand years old (not four thousand, as Burroughs  suggested, or jested) and that it had the power to cure cancer. Coleman’s cousin, James Jordan, told People magazine in 1986 that Coleman was “accepted by the tribe as a master musician.…Coleman was so comfortable with the music he found on that mountain, it was almost as if he had undergone some kind of reincarnation.” Coleman himself told his biographer,
The musicians had a different impression. According to what they told me, they were very impressed by Coleman’s musicianship but also confused by his performance practice: “He could write down anything that we played, exactly. But when he played what he had written, it didn’t sound like us at all.”
See, when I went there and started performing with them, I was never informed on what they were going to play, how they were going to play it, when they were going to stop, when they were going to start, any form.…I wasn’t prepared for anything at all.…Sounded as if I had rehearsed it with them. It wasn’t true. Not at all. (Litweiler 1992, 161)
Perhaps the greatest transformation has occurred in the character of Bou Jeloud. Thanks to a slip of the pen on the part of Paul Bowles, the festival has been transposed (in some sources) from ‘Aid el-Kabir to ‘Aid as-Saghir, the feast at the end of Ramadan. In most accounts the other characters in the masquerade simply disappear from the story. The musicians themselves have helped to emphasize this change: when they tour they bring along only one extra dancer to play the part of Bou Jeloud, perhaps because they sense that the American and European public may be fascinated by the reincarnation of an ancient Greek god but are less interested in, for example, pseudo-Jews and transvestite boys. Finally, in the press and in their own publicity, Bou Jeloud is no longer “like” Pan, he is Pan, a figure previously unknown (by name at least) in the village. A press release, attributed to Bachir Attar, the current leader of the musicians, goes even further, identifying Bou Jeloud as “The Male Principle.” This is the sort of idea that may have appealed to Gysin, but it goes against actual practice. As Hammoudi (1993) points out, Bou Jeloud (under a variety of names) is, at the very least, of ambiguous sexuality. In certain places the character is known as “The Cow” (tamugait) and has a single, prominent teat. Although Bou Jeloud in Jajouka has a masculine name, he is a curious example of the Male Principle, since he wears a woman’s belt and hat.
In recent years stories about Jajouka have shifted their emphasis away from drugs, sex, and even rock ‘n’ roll to focus instead on the New Age, curative properties of the music. According to Glow Magazine (Sherrard n.d.), for example, Bill Laswell’s recordings (of Jajouka and other groups) are “different from ethno-musical adornment, which is what Paul Simon does, adding ethnic elements to his songs like so much MSG. It is entirely different from ethno-music packaging, which is what Peter Gabriel’s Realworld Records is: the music industry’s version of La Choy Foods.” In short, Laswell’s productions “are in no way ethnomusicological ‘field recordings.’ They are recordings of trance masters produced by a trance master.” Similarly, promotional material for Sub Rosa Records stresses that its new recording of Joujouka is “not another world-music record, but a unique experience—what is proposed here is nothing but a new way to live.” Even Bachir Attar, on a world-music fusion album (with the Senegalese percussionist Aiyb Dieng and Maceo Parker, a saxophonist from James Brown’s band), is described as “the numinous vehicle,” the embodiment of “the latest model of energy…, the heir apparent to the thousand year legacy of Dionysian rockingitis, of Apollonian ecstasies—the multi-generational orchestra of high healing.” A few fans, at least, seem to take this seriously. When Bou Jeloud danced at the group’s Cambridge performance on their 1995 tour, a young couple came up to the edge of the stage, hoping to be swatted by Bou Jeloud’s switch of fertility.
Meanwhile, back in Jajouka, the Western accounts have folded back on themselves, reentering the mythology of the village itself. When I talked to the villagers in the early 1980s, they said that Brian Jones had not made much of an impression at the time of his visit. He was only there for a night, and, aside from his appearance, he was not much different from the other people whom Gysin and Hamri brought up. By the time the recording came out in 1971, they had forgotten about Jones, and it was only through their new crop of visitors that they learned about the album and their new fame. Over time the villagers realized that Jones had brought them a blessing, mixed though it might be. Today Jones’s picture hangs on the wall of the madrasa, next to the obligatory photo of King Hassan II. And now Bachir Attar says, “I was almost five years old when Brian Jones came, and I remember it like yesterday.”
Whatever the Jajoukans actually think of Western musicians like the Klezmatics, Donovan, or Ornette Coleman, the interest of outside performers has become a part of the villagers’ stories about themselves. Thus Bachir never fails to mention these contacts in newspaper interviews, and he often opens their concerts by dedicating the performance to Stephen Tyler (lead singer of Aerosmith), Lee Ranaldo (guitarist with Sonic Youth), or other admirers who may be in the audience. It is as though he is invoking a new sacred lineage in the village, replacing the missing hagiography of Sidi Hmed Shikh.
This litany of glitterati—from Gysin, Bowles, and Burroughs to Guns ‘n’ Roses and Philip Glass—helps to draw audiences to Jajouka concerts and persuades them to buy their records. It is not clear what these arbiters of taste and avatars of hip actually find in following the Master Musicians—other than the company of their peers—but musicians and listeners alike pretend, and perhaps actually believe, that, despite all the exposure to the West, the music of Jajouka is ancient, authentic, and unique. Nevertheless, the mixing of the two saintly lineages, East and West, has produced some decidedly unusual offspring. When Daily Variety refers to the music’s “glorious air of purity…[that] makes no concessions to the Western world,” the writer conveniently ignores both Bachir Attar’s world-music experiments and the disco mixes on the second CD of the rerelease of the Brian Jones album.