Musical Performance: Malika Zarra - Jewel of Morocco

Sat, September 25, 2010 9:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

(View all musical performances »)

Moroccan singer/composer/producer Malika Zarra is a multi-cultural shape-shifter, an enchantress who leaps effortlessly between seemingly unconnected languages and traditions, uniting them while utilizing each to further enrich the others. The exotically beautiful artist with the velvety, sinuous mezzo-soprano voice has demonstrated a rare ability to communicate both powerful and subtle ideas and feelings in Berber, Moroccan Arabic, French and English and is now a much-in-demand headliner around the world.

Tickets: $20, available at the door or online. (A small surcharge applies; use printout as your ticket).

$15 student tickets available at the door only.

Doors open at 8:30.

Listen to Mailka Zarra.
Watch a CNN interview with Malika.

About Malika Zarra

Malika was born in the southern Moroccan village of Ouled Teima. Her father's family came from from Tata, a city on the Sahara plain, while her mother was a Berber from the High Atlas. During her early childhood, there was always music and dancing in the house and Malika sang almost from infancy. After her family emigrated to a suburb of Paris, she found herself straddling two very different societies. "I had to be French at school yet retain my Moroccan cultural heritage at home, she recalls, Like many immigrant children, I learned to switch quickly between the two. It was hard but brought me a lot of good things too."

An early visit to New York made a strong impression on her and In 2004, Malika decided to relocate to New York City. Having crafted a repertoire that incorporated her native Berber, Gnawa (a percussive form of religious trance music) and Shaabi (Arabic working class blues) heritages, the intellectual elegance of French pop, plus freewheeling jazz rhythms and techniques, her reputation as a solo act began to grow. Malika's vocal versatility led to invitations to participate in a wide variety of projects, including house, dance, gospel, funk and African music, and kept her busy as a session and back-up singer.

Malika has recorded or sat in with dozens of artists and has performed at Carnegie Hall, the London Jazz Festival, the Festival du Monde Arabe, the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival, French Embassy in Washington DC, Brooklyn Maqam festival, and clubs in New York, Canada, France, and other places. Malika's debut solo album "On the Ebony Road" (2006), reveals a firm grasp of a richly diverse bouquet of references, fusing rhythms from chaabi, Berber and Gnawa music.

Last updated: 2010-09-20 05:00:20

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