Even if Morocco`s Berber population (around one-fourth of the total Moroccan population) are completely integrated into the society, their cultural consciousness is very pronounced and also supported by the goverment. There are diverse radio stations and TV programs in all three main Berber languages; and also many cultural events around Berber music, literature, art, etc., happening all year long. "Tamazeert", the dialect from Souss (the region where Argan are from), has its own alphabet and script, but is more a spoken than a written language (only a minority knows how to write it) and cannot be understood by most of the other Arabic speaking parts of the country.
Argan is the name of a small tree that exists widely in Souss and in a tiny part of Mexico. From its fruit, one obtains a delicious and healthy oil. The tree symbolizes patience and adaptability to droughts and "Berberism"; it as well represents the band`s fondness for nature, which does not, however, exclude sympathy for noisy amps.
The aggresive side of anger and every day living, is rarely represented in the average North African music. Even if a very few "Rock bands" exist in the bigger Moroccan cities, heavy guitar sound and Rock music play a very marginal role in the national music scene. Probably for the simple reason that the usual guitar riffs - with the typical the rough and distorted sound - just do not fit well in Arabic music. On the other hand, the pentatonic note scale of Berber music is not that far from the Blues schema and allows an easy approach for integrating Rock guitars. Also the always present banjo, which became a sort of lead instrument in the Berber music from Souss in the last fifty years, reminds us of Country-like soundscapes (see track 6) and seem to allow the music to become more accessible for the average Western listener than other North African styles. In Argan`s case there were a few accidental factors leading to the result of the new album. A hectic recording day in Casablanca on a 24 track tape, spoiled with Coca Cola, maybe gave the basics to the slightly strange and dirty sound. But the main reason, here again, was the little village in the South of Agadir, where Argan found their inspiration for this second album. In contrast to the debut album "Berberism", where the traditional Berber roots were the starting point to develop the songs, "South Moroccan Motor Berber" musically focuses on what happened in the village between 1969 and 1976. At that time, the first hippies came to Morocco to search their Karma, the sun and mind-expanding substances. In a village without electricity and running water, the population used to live nearly like they did a hundred years ago, from fishing and farming. After the Spanish and French "invasion", the strangely dressed and sometimes respectless creatures with long hair played guitar, drove around on motorcycles and listened to Velvet Underground, Hendrix and the Doors on ghetto blasters, working on batteries, while the indigenous population was wondering what was going on on the beaches, in the caves and in some of the houses. Everybody can imagine the side effects this had on the local youth as on the whole of the social village structure.
Now 30 years later all that seems quite ridiculous and not so dramatic anymore. What remains, however, are some unbelievable stories, legends and the rockish guitar riffs, combined with a certain identification through nature, which is the main subject in traditional Berber songs. The same nature that most of the Hippies missed completly. So this album shall not be a tribute to the past, but much more a parody of it.