Morocco Music and artists
Wherever you travel in Morocco, you are sure to hear music. It is the primary expression of the country’s popular culture. Morocco traditional music is an important part of daily life, obvious in every celebration and is most magnificent when seen live at births, weddings, funerals, religious gatherings, and festivals. During a private visit to Morocco, you will have many opportunities to hear traditional Moroccan music. Ancient Moroccan music found in the mountainous regions. It is played in Berber villages, while in the cities, there is a strong classical Arabic tradition of songs and instrumental music brought by the Eastern Arabs and Andalusian Spain. Since the 1970s, Morocco has given birth to indigenous pop (chabbi music), which ranges from protest songs to dance music – sounds you’ll hear on taxi radios, bus station PA systems, and in shops, cafes and restaurants. Visit any souk, and you’ll find musicians playing and stands blowing up CDs and cassettes of local music they have for sale. Festivals are the most rewarding because a wide variety of styles are performed, such as Berber, Gnawa, Jajouka, Chabbi, Griha, Moroccan rap, Sephardic, and Sufi.
Andalusian music combines the haunting tonality of Arabic music with the flamenco style of Spanish folk music. This style uses complex percussion, string instruments, lute, and many other instruments. Considered the classical music of Morocco, Andalusian music is sung in Arabic and usually performed by men in traditional dress at religious ceremonies, festivals, and concerts.The second type of music is Berber music. The three different Berber regions of Morocco each have their language and, in turn, their Berber rhythms. Berber music has survived thanks to some Berber musicians and poets. Many Arab Moroccans do not listen to Berber music because most do not speak or understand Berber. The main instruments of their music are the round drum – or banjo – and the Bendir. Berber music has undergone many changes over the last twenty years. One of the most notable changes is the increasing presence of women performing it.
Gnawa Music combines hypnotic trance rhythms with ceremonial dances and acrobatics. Added to Morocco by West Africans, Gnawa emerged from the freed slaves in Marrakech and Essaouria to become both a prayer and a celebration of freedom and life. Gnawa has inspired the development of modern Moroccan music and has merged with similar styles, such as jazz, reggae, and hip-hop. You’ll hear Gnawa in the Djemaa-el Fna in Marrakech or at the annual Gnawa World Music Festival held each year in Essaouria, the center of Gnawa music.
Another type of Moroccan music is Rai. Originally from Algeria, it has been adopted by Morocco and is associated with the eastern region of the country, particularly the city of Oujda. Rai music gained much popularity in Morocco in the 1990s with the death of the famous Algerian Rai singer Cheb Hasni. Since then, Rai has blossomed in north-eastern Morocco.
Chaabi is considered the pop music of Morocco. It descends from Moroccan folk music and sounds similar to Rai. As it generally played in Darija, the Moroccan Arabic, it is one of the most listened to types of music in Morocco. The music includes drums, lutes, stringed instruments, and, more recently, electric guitars and buzuks. You will hear the Chaabi played in taxis, market stalls, and clubs.
Hassani music or Baydun music is brought together Arab and African music over western Sahara lands, creating a creative painting that relaxes the heart and makes people feel.
This music reflects the life of the Sahrawis, as it is considered, at the nomadic desert, belonging to the Baydun community, a form of artistic expression of the nomadic life they practice, and what reflected in their imaginations of intellectual visions and reflections of
If you are planning to visit Morocco, be sure to be informed of the music festival taking place during your visit. They are numerous in different cities and it is very likely that your visit coincides with one of them.
List of Morocco Festivals
FES FESTIVAL OF WORLD SACRED MUSIC (mid-summer (late May or early June)
GNAOUA MUSIC FESTIVAL (June)
TIMITAR MUSIC FESTIVAL IN AGADIR (July )
IMILCHIL MARRIAGE FESTIVAL (September)
ROSE FESTIVAL- EL KELAA DE MGOUNA (May )
SUFI FESTIVAL (April )
INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL MARRAKESH (November)