Haja El Hamdaouia, a Moroccan musician and cultural icon, is honoured in today’s Doodle. The leading lady of Moroccan chaabi music had a profound impact on several artistic generations.
Haja was born in Casablanca, Morocco, in 1930. Her father was a musician himself, and the family frequently entertained musical groups. Haja was therefore motivated to enrol in theatre classes where she honed her singing and performance skills in the chaabi music genre, which combines urban and rural Moroccan folk music.
She became interested in El Aita al Marsaouiya, a style of chaabi music with literary lyrics and blues-inspired songs, in the early 1950s. The genre received fresh life through Haja. Haja sung songs in which she covered a wide range of topics, including everyday life and national freedom.
As seen in 1959 when Haja got the idea to sing in front of a makeshift orchestra, she wasn’t afraid to push boundaries. A saxophone, an organ, a guitar, a guitar, drums, and a violin accompanied her as she played in cabaret establishments throughout Casablanca districts. She wrote some of her most well-known songs during this period, including the love and femininity-themed “Daba Yij” and “Jiti Majiti.”
For more than 60 years, Haja continued to compose and perform music. Up until the late 2000s, she was the headlining act at festivals in Essaouira and Oujda. You can listen to her songs online or in physical locations all over the world. Thank you for consistently singing from the heart, Haja El Hamdaouia.