Belkhayat Fusion

Last November I was in Morocco and discovered this performance of Abdelhadi Belkhayat playing the traditional Arab oud with a full Arabic orchestra (in the classic Egyptian style). What was interesting was that he was also accompanied by musicians playing purely local instruments in the African, Berber and gnawa tradition. I immediately asked my wife who it was and learned that it was Adelhadi Belkhayat, a famous Moroccan oud player and singer.

In Morocco, you have a variety of different styles of music mirroring the various cultural and religious influences on the country: traditional Arab music (ouds and orchestras a la Egypt), Andaloussi and Gharnati music (arriving from the Muslims and Jews exiled from Spain), Berber music (with banjos), Dakka Marrakchia and Gnawa. This particular video is a perfect example of the fusion of all of them.

Since then, I have picked up some Belkhayat CDs, most of which is more Arabic than purely Moroccan, with one of my favorite songs being Ya Dak al Insan. In general, though, I prefer Hamid Zahir whose music has more examples of the combinations of traditional Moroccan sounds with the Arab oud.

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