The Dimi mint Abba Archives Volume 4: Aid Maouloud, the 1986 duo recording with Seddoum ould Eide

The most commun unit in Beydane music is the male-female duo (the Beydane are the Hassaniya speaking Arabo-berber population of Mauritania).  This simple combination highlights the complimentary playing styles of the tidinitt lute/guitar, exclusively played by men, and the ardin harp, played by women, as well as the contrasting vocal timbres of male and female voices.  Thanks largely to the national radio, several of these duos have become iconic; Sidaty ould Abba and his wife Mounnina mint Eide, Sid Ahmed Bekaye ould Awa and his sister Vatma mint Awa, or Ahmedou ould Meidah and Mahjouba mint Meidah.

The most iconic duo of all, however, is that of Dimi mint Abba and her cousin Seddoum ould Eide.  Their musical legacy was not spread by the national radio but by the advent of cheap, portable, cassette technology.  Dimi and Seddoum recorded countless--dozens? hundreds? thousands? there is no way to know--cassettes.  A dozen or so of these recordings, due to their audio quality and the musical performances, have become known throughout Mauritania.  One of the most famous and loved of these cassettes is called Aid el Maouloud. 

This recording was made on November 15, 1986 at the home of Moustapha ould Tar, a music lover of the Idaw Ali tribe, who, like Dimi and Seddoum, comes from the Taganit region.  Moustapha ould Tar organized a musical event to celebrate the Maouloud, the observance of the birthday of the prophet Muhammad.  (Towards the end of the first side of the cassette, in keeping with the religious spirit of the day, Seddoum sings the praises of Abdel Kader Jilani, the founder of the Qadriyya Sufi brotherhood, one of the principal brotherhoods in Mauritania.) 

Seddoum ould Eide was born June 5, 1955 in Moudjeria to Aly ould Eide and Moule mint Hemed Vall.  He is likely the most recorded Beydane musician ever and his musical contributions have transformed the genre.  Seddoum did not recieve a traditional musical education, his father pushed him to succeed at school and did not teach him the intricacies of the tidinitt repertoire;  the codified body of melodies called el shwar.  Seddoum's lack of traditional training is compensated, however, by his fertile musical imagination.  He developed a meditative guitar-based style that favors ornate improvisation.  His rubbery guitar lines introduce melodic ideas that he extends in his clear, high voice.  His music draws as much on classical arabic poetry by authors like the Syrian Nizar Qabbani as on Hassaniya verse.

Seddoum moved to Nouakchott in the early 1970s, around the same time as Dimi, and by the mid-1980s they were both national stars.  Over the last thirty years Seddoum has travelled throughout the Beydane diaspora, from Gabon to Dubai, Bahrain to Kentucky, France to Mali, sharing intimate musical evenings with lovers of Beydane music.  He has never made a studio recording and only has one internationally released track, a poorly recorded and underwhelming cut on this compiliation.  Seddoum continues to perform for groups of friends throughout Mauritania.

This recording features Seddoum on electric guitar and Dimi on ardin, both of them singing their hearts out.  At the beginning of the A side you can faintly hear Dimi whisper, 'and our thoughts are with Khalifa'.  She is referring to Seddoum's brother Khalifa, their frequent musical partner, who had just recently gotten into a car accident and was recuperating.

Download Dimi mint Abba & Seddoum ould Eide - Aid el Maouloud (FLAC)

Download Dimi mint Abba & Seddoum ould Eide - Aid el Maouloud (320) 

This is music that exists out of time, both in a musical and a generational sense.  There are often long musical sequences with little musical pulse, the music more pulled along by the melody than pushed by the rhythm.  And this is a style of music that is no longer performed in Mauritania, contemporary Beydane music has shifted to more rhythmic styles.  This also a music that requires your time, this is not background music, this is immersive music.    

Enjoy one of the masterpieces of Saharan music.

Very special thanks to Bamba ould Talebna, a passionate music lover and true connaisseur of Beydane music, for his insights.  This post is as much his as mine, except, of course, for the errors, those are all mine.


  1. Another great post of music I was unaware of. Much appreciated. Thank you


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