Touria Hadraoui or how to sing (and live) the Malhoun, a 100% Moroccan art

Touria Hadraoui or how to sing (and live) the Malhoun, a 100% Moroccan art

By Achraf El Hassani and Khalil Essalak on 06/12/2022 at 8:58 p.m.

One of the greatest female voices of Malhoun, Touria Hadraoui was also the one who broke the “monopoly” of men on this 100% Moroccan art. In this interview, she talks about her beginnings in this art as well as her relationship to writing, Hadraoui also being an author.


She is both a writer and a singer, but it is above all for her unequaled voice in this ancestral art that is Malhoun that Touria Hadraoui is best known. In this interview for Le360, she tells us that she is happy in both exercises. “I make sure that the two occupations do not overlap. When I give performances, I abstain from writing and vice versa. Each activity requires a different disposition and energy. These are two different universes: writing requires being down to earth, the subject being reality. When I sing, on the other hand, I am weightless. The balance is done by itself, ”she summarizes.

Her discovery of Malhoun, she says, was that of a whole culture, the Moroccan. “The Malhoun took me into the whole history of Morocco and opened many doors for me. Starting with that of the Arab-Muslim culture, since at the start, I was mainly influenced by Western culture and philosophy and I was, I admit, closed to everything that is heritage, ”says Touria Hadraoui. .

On her singing career, the artist claims to have evolved gradually. “I talk about it in my book “In search of a voice”: I first started by taking up classics from the East such as those of Oum Kalthoum, Cheikh Imam or Fouad Najm. I then joined a group, Choûla (La Flamme), focusing my work on engaged art. It was after a long journey that I discovered Malhoun and since then I have stayed there, ”says the singer. For her, it was a call and it took experience to be able to answer it.

One of the important stages of this career was his meeting with the Russian-American pianist and jazzman Simon Nabatov. Touria Hadraoui says in this regard that it was she who took the initiative: “I wanted at all costs to be accompanied by a piano in my songs and that is how I expressed this wish to the director of the Goethe Institute in Rabat, which forwarded my request to its management in Berlin. The collaboration came from there and we started with a show at the cathedral in Rabat which was a great success. We then chained the concerts in Morocco and elsewhere, in France, in Belgium and in the Netherlands in particular”, remembers the singer.

One innovation leading to another, Touria Hadraoui also returns to the fact of having introduced a contemporary way of singing the Malhoun, with so-called modern instruments. “It’s the way of working that takes precedence over the instruments. It not only reflects a way of playing or singing, but of living and thinking”. A way of saying that the Malhoun can also live with the times, and is open to new openings and creativity.

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