Music of Morocco

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Music of Morocco
Specific forms
Regional music

Moroccan music is characterized by its great diversity from one region to another. It includes Arabic music as the chaâbi and the aita of the Atlantic plains (Doukkala-Abda, Chaouia-Ouardigha, Rehamna ...), the melhoune of the Andalusian cities (Meknes, Fes, Salé, Tetouan, Oujda...) as well as the Hassani in the Moroccan Sahara. There is also Amazigh music such as the Rif reggada, the ahidus of the Middle Atlas and the Souss ahwash. In the South there is also deqqa Marrakshia and gnawa. In addition, young people synthesize the Moroccan spirit with influences from around the world (blues, rock, metal, reggae, Moroccan rap, etc.). Each genre and musical group is made up of regional subgroups, and is further divided between 'modern' and 'traditional' music.

Arabic music Music of the Arab World

Arabic music is the music of the Arab world with all its different music styles and genres. Arabic countries have many styles of music and also many dialects; each country has its own traditional music.

Aita is the name of the Etruscan equivalent to the Greek Hades, the divine ruler of the underworld.

Doukkala-Abda Region in Morocco

Doukkala-Abda was formerly one of the sixteen regions of Morocco from 1997 to 2015. It is situated in west-central Morocco. It covered an area of 13,285 km² and had a population of 2,173,090. The capital is Safi.


Traditional music styles

Andalusian classical music

Andalusian classical music (Arabic : طرب أندَلُسي, موسيقى الآلة لاب transliterated ṭarab andalusi or Musiqa al-Ala, Spanish: música andalusí) is a style of Arabic music found in different styles across the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya in the form of the Ma'luf style). It originated out of the music of Al-Andalus (Muslim Iberia) between the 9th and 15th centuries. Some of its poems were found to be composed by authors such as Al-Shushtari, Ibn al-Khatib and Al-Mu'tamid ibn Abbad.

Maghreb Major region of North Africa

The Maghreb, also known as Northwest Africa or Northern Africa, Greater Arab Maghreb, Arab Maghreb or Greater Maghreb, or by some sources the Berber world, Barbary and Berbery, is a major region of North Africa, which consists primarily of the countries Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania. It additionally includes the disputed territories of Western Sahara and the cities of Melilla and Ceuta. As of 2018, the region has a population of over 100 million people.

Ma'luf is a genre of art music in the Andalusian classical music tradition of Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia. It is of Iberian origin and was introduced to North Africa by Andalusian refugees. A detailed description of Ma'luf in Tunisia can be found under "Music of Tunisia".

Al-Andalus The territories of the Iberian Peninsula under Moorish rule between 711 and 1492

Al-Andalus, also known as Muslim Spain, Muslim Iberia, or Islamic Iberia, was a medieval Muslim territory and cultural domain that in its early period included most of Iberia, today's Portugal and Spain. At its greatest geographical extent, it occupied the northwest of the Iberian peninsula and a part of present-day southern France, Septimania, and for nearly a century extended its control from Fraxinet over the Alpine passes which connect Italy with the remainder of Western Europe. The name more generally describes the parts of the peninsula governed by Muslims at various times between 711 and 1492, though the boundaries changed constantly as the Christian Reconquista progressed, eventually shrinking to the south around modern-day Andalusia and then to the Emirate of Granada.

Berber folk music

There are varieties of Berber folk music: village music and music.

Chaabi "popular" folk music

Chaabi (Arabic: الشعبي, popular in English) is a music consisting of numerous varieties which descend from the multifarious forms of Moroccan folk music. Chaabi was originally performed in markets, but is now found at any celebration or meeting.

Gnawa, mystical

A gnawa street performer wearing traditional gnawi clothing in Rabat's Qasbat al-Widaya. m`lm lgnw@.jpg
A gnawa street performer wearing traditional gnawi clothing in Rabat's Qasbat al-Widaya.

Gnawa is a form of music that is mystical. It was gradually brought to Morocco by Sub-Saharan Africans and later became part of the Moroccan tradition.

Mysticism Practice of religious experiences during alternate states of consciousness

Mysticism is the practice of religious ecstasies, together with whatever ideologies, ethics, rites, myths, legends, and magic may be related to them. It may also refer to the attainment of insight in ultimate or hidden truths, and to human transformation supported by various practices and experiences.

Sub-Saharan Africa Area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara Desert

Sub-Saharan Africa is, geographically, the area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. According to the United Nations, it consists of all African countries that are fully or partially located south of the Sahara. It contrasts with North Africa, whose territories are part of the League of Arab states within the Arab world. The states of Somalia, Djibouti, Comoros and the Arabic speaking Mauritania are however geographically in sub-Saharan Africa, although they are members of the Arab League as well. The UN Development Program lists 46 of Africa’s 54 countries as “sub-Saharan,” excluding Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Somalia, Sudan and Tunisia.

Classical Malhun

Classical Malhun is peaceful and very interesting to listen to. It has been played around in the streets of Morocco for over a thousand years. It is very common music to hear in Morocco.

Classical Sufi music

Sufi brotherhoods ( tariqas ) are common in Morocco, and music is an integral part of their spiritual tradition. This music is an attempt at reaching a trance state which inspires mystical ecstasy.

Sufism, or Taṣawwuf, variously defined as "Islamic mysticism", "the inward dimension of Islam" or "the phenomenon of mysticism within Islam", is mysticism in Islam, "characterized ... [by particular] values, ritual practices, doctrines and institutions" which began very early in Islamic history and represents "the main manifestation and the most important and central crystallization of" mystical practice in Islam. Practitioners of Sufism have been referred to as "Sufis".

A tariqa is a school or order of Sufism, or specifically a concept for the mystical teaching and spiritual practices of such an order with the aim of seeking Haqiqa, which translates as "ultimate truth".

An altered state of consciousness (ASC), also called altered state of mind or mind alteration, is any condition which is significantly different from a normal waking state. By 1892, the expression was in use in relation to hypnosis although an ongoing debate about hypnosis as an ASC based on modern definition exists. The next retrievable instance, by Dr Max Mailhouse from his 1904 presentation to conference, however, is unequivocally identified as such, as it was in relation to epilepsy, and is still used today. In academia, the expression was used as early as 1966 by Arnold M. Ludwig and brought into common usage from 1969 by Charles Tart. It describes induced changes in one's mental state, almost always temporary. A synonymous phrase is "altered state of awareness".

Rock, pop, rap, and reggae

Rai, rock music

Rai is more closely associated with Algeria in the international music scene, but Morocco has produced its own stars like Cheb Mimoun and Hanino.

Algeria Country in North Africa

Algeria, officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. The capital and most populous city is Algiers, located in the far north of the country on the Mediterranean coast. With an area of 2,381,741 square kilometres (919,595 sq mi), Algeria is the tenth-largest country in the world, the world's largest Arab country, and the largest in Africa. Algeria is bordered to the northeast by Tunisia, to the east by Libya, to the west by Morocco, to the southwest by the Western Saharan territory, Mauritania, and Mali, to the southeast by Niger, and to the north by the Mediterranean Sea. The country is a semi-presidential republic consisting of 48 provinces and 1,541 communes (counties). It has the highest human development index of all the non-island African countries.

Celine is a popular poprock artist in Morocco.

Morocco's famous international music producer RedOne (Nadir Khayat) is representing Morocco internationally and he was decorated by the king of Morocco Mohammed VI "wissam alaoui".

RedOne Moroccan record producer, singer, songwriter and record executive

Nadir Khayat, better known by his stage name RedOne, is a Moroccan record producer, singer, songwriter and record executive. As a record producer and songwriter, he has worked with many high-profile recording artists, most notably Lady Gaga, Akon, Michael Jackson, RBD, U2, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Lopez, Nicole Scherzinger, Gru, Cross Gene, Pitbull, Enrique Iglesias, Shakira, Wyclef Jean, Mariah Carey, Paulina Rubio, Mylène Farmer, Mohombi, Inna, Alexandra Burke, Austin Mahone, One Direction, Marc Anthony, The Band Perry, Prince Royce, Rod Stewart, Usher among many others. His production discography boasts many Billboard and international hits, which he produced and co-wrote. RedOne has established his own record label named RedOne Records.

Morocco has a small metal scene with bands like Sakadoya and Analgesia being the most prominent.

Rap and reggae

Rap and reggae have become more dominant in contemporary Morocco. Artists such as Muslim, Dizzy DROS and Dub Afrika have gained international popularity. They are most known for their song, Rissala. [1]

Mehdi Hattabi (born July 7), better known by his stage name Dub Afrika, is a Moroccan singer, mixer, and dancer. Dub Afrika started his musical career on the streets and soon rose to fame. In 2009, he became a member of Cosa Nostra, a successful group. They released an album in 2009 which includes the songs, "Positive Time" and "Made in Morocco."

In 2011, he left Cosa Nova to begin his solo career as a reggae artist with his first single "Mama, I Love You." Since then he has been continuously producing successful hits such as "Sky is the Limit" and "Bless." He has also collaborated with artists such as Nabyl Chouftchouf, Spliff Killa, and most notably, Muslim.


Several Moroccan artists are fusing elements of traditional Moroccan music with internationally popular styles. For example, Issam combines rai with trap from the southern US. [2] LD Malca fuzes chaabi with electro music. [3]

Music education

See also

Related Research Articles

Almohad Caliphate langue Arabic dialictic

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Algerian music is virtually synonymous with Raï among foreigners; the musical genre has achieved great popularity in France, Spain and other parts of Europe. For several centuries, Algerian music was dominated by styles inherited from Al-Andalus, eventually forming a unique North African twist on these poetic forms. Algerian music came to include suites called nuubaat. Later derivatives include rabaab and hawzii.

Tétouan City and municipality in Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima, Morocco

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The Music of Andalusia encompasses a range of traditional musical genres which originate in the territory of Andalusia in southern Spain. The most famous are copla and flamenco, the latter being sometimes used as a portmanteau term for various regional musical traditions within Andalusia. Andalusia has a rich and thriving musical scene which draws from its own musical traditions as well as from external influences such as salsa and blues rock music.

North Africa has contributed to popular music, especially Egyptian classical and el Gil, Algerian raï and chaabi. The broad region is sometimes called the Maghreb, and the term Maghrebian music is in use. For a variety of reasons Libya does not have as extensive a popular tradition as its neighbors. Folk music, however, abounds, despite frequent condemnation and suppression from governments, and exists in multiple forms across the region—the Berbers, Sephardic Jews, Tuaregs and Nubians, for example, retain musical traditions with ancient roots.

The Gnawa are an ethnic group inhabiting Morocco and Algeria in the Maghreb.

Andalusian Arabic variety of Arabic spoken on the Iberian Peninsula

Andalusian Arabic, also known as Andalusi Arabic, was a variety or varieties of the Arabic language spoken in Al-Andalus, the regions of the Iberian Peninsula under Muslim rule from the 9th century to the 17th century. It became an extinct language in Iberia after the expulsion of the Moriscos, which took place over a century after the Conquest of Granada by Christian Spain. Once widely spoken in Iberia, the expulsions and persecutions of Arabic speakers caused an abrupt end to the language's use on the peninsula. Its use continued to some degree in Africa after the expulsion although Andalusi speakers were rapidly assimilated by the Moroccan, Tunisian and Egyptian communities to which they fled.

Andalusian classical music Music genre

Andalusian classical music is a style of Arabic music found in different styles across the Maghreb and the Levant. It originated out of the music of Al-Andalus between the 9th and 15th centuries. Some of its poems were found to be composed by authors such as Al-Shushtari, Ibn al-Khatib and Al-Mu'tamid ibn Abbad.

Andalusī nūbah, also transliterated nūba, nūbā, or nouba, or in its classical Arabic form, nawba, nawbah, or nōbah, is a musical genre found in the North African Maghrib states of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya but, as the name indicates, it has its origins in Arabo-Andalusian music. The name replaced the older use of sawt and originated from the musician waiting behind a curtain to be told it was his turn or nawbah by the sattar or curtain man.

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Malhun, meaning "the melodic poem", is a form of music originated in Morocco. It is a kind of urban, sung poetry that comes from the exclusively masculine working-class milieu of craftsmen's guilds.

Culture of Morocco culture of an area

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Mohamed Abdennour is an Algerian composer, arranger and instrumentalist, active in France and playing a fusion of different musical forms mixed with chaabi. He has been called a virtuoso on the Algerian mandole or mondol, "one of most gifted on this instrument very present in the Châabi music." In France he has worked with other artists including, providing background music or participating in their bands, as well as arranging music for film and theater. The bands he has played with have played a wide mixture of music, including rap, ragga, reggae, jazz and raï. In addition to showing what the mondol can do, he also has showed the capabilities of other stringed instruments used in North Africa, including the banjo, oud, mandolin, sintir, guitar and laúd.

Lionel Malca, also known by his stage name LD Malca, is a French-Moroccan musician specializing in electro fusion. He draws influence from African American music, Algerian rai, and Moroccan chaabi.


  1. "Muslim Feat. Dub Africa". Rissala. 22 January 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  2. "The Gritty Rise Of Issam". Gentlemen's Quarterly. Retrieved 2019-10-12.
  3. "Malca dévoile enfin son nouveau clip (et on adore)". Al HuffPost Maghreb (in French). 2017-10-27. Retrieved 2019-10-12.