Readers of Gharamophone first encountered the powerful voice of the Constantinois Jewish artist Aroun Haouzi El Baidi in a January 2021 post. In that entry, I attempted to sketch out his biography, albeit in broad and sometimes tentative strokes. Since then––and thanks to the intervention of his descendants, a number of other details have surfaced. We now know, for example, that Haouzi was born in Aïn Beïda in 1889 but lived most of his life in Constantine. In addition to his recording activities for Polyphon and Pathé, he owned a record store on rue Caraman (today: Didouche Mourad), the principle street of Constantine’s city center. That the Haouzi home was a musical one is borne out not just be the activities of Aroun but by the fact that he taught the Andalusian and hawzi repertoires to his daughter Edith Khalifa (née Haouzi), of which she was known to sing late into her life. Aroun Haouzi “El Baidi” and his family departed Algeria in March 1962. He died in Paris four years later.
This recording of “Ya Moulat El Khana” comes from a rather prodigious 1932 Polyphon session. Part of the hawzi repertoire, it is a powerful lament, especially when performed by a powerful vocalist. “Today, my dearest ones left,” Haouzi intones at the 2:04 mark, “Only I remained.”
Title: Ya Moulat El Khana (يا مولاة الخانة) [Sides 1-2]
Artist: Aroun Haouzi el Baidi
Issue Number: V 45.570 A; V 45.570 B
Matrix Number: 5249 BK; 5250 BK
Date of Pressing: 1932