Mohammed Mrabet

Mohammed Mrabet in Conversation with Jaap van der Bent and Coen PrangerNew from Counter Culture Chronicles:

Mohammed Mrabet in Conversation with Jaap van der Bent and Coen Pranger

Moroccan storyteller and visual artist Mohammed Mrabet was invited for the 5th edition of the One World Poetry festival in Amsterdam in November 1982. Away from the festival Mrabet, mainly known in the West for his friendship with Paul and Jane Bowles, was interviewed by Beat scholar Jaap van der Bent and Coen Pranger at the Amsterdam Island International Bookstore, which served as the Dutch import centre for Black Sparrow Press, at the time Mrabet’s publisher. The recording of that interview has now been released by Counter Culture Chronicles on cassette with additional information in English and Dutch included in an envelope. Deeply rooted in Moroccan tradition and culture, Mrabet does not always hold positive views of the Westerners that he encountered in Tangier. His friendship with Paul Bowles was ambivalent but genuine, but most of the Beats that landed in Tangier in Bowles’s wake were held in low esteem, most of all William Burroughs, whom Mrabet viewed as the leader of a criminal gang. Some of that awkwardness and clash of cultures is also felt on the CCC cassette, not in the least because of Mrabet’s poor command of the English language. But Mrabet’s memories of Paul and Jane Bowles, his explanation of the Moroccan tradition of storytelling and the role of the supernatural in those, his comments on smoking kif, fishing, publishing and making art make this tape a valuable document. The conversation with Jaap van der Bent and Coen Pranger at Henk van der Does’s bookstore is a compelling and multilayered story in itself. “A tongue tells a thousand truths”, Mrabet once said, “but you always only want to hear one”. Read More & Order