Alluring melodies, enchanting vocals, breathtaking brass instruments and an explosive chaabi groove. Les Sheikhs Shikhats & B’net Chaabi will charm you with all the strength and beauty of their musical and poetic tradition revisited!
This project, led by Laïla Amezian with Laurent Blondiau as an accomplice, pays tribute to the Ghanayats and Shikhats, female musicians who fought for freedom of expression through their art. It also highlights a cultural heritage that these singers have popularised throughout Morocco since the end of the 19th century, and which is perpetuated in Belgium through the diaspora.
Fascinating in all its strength and audacity, this project brings to the forefront a vocal and musical tradition little known to the general public: that of the Ghanayats and Shikhats. Emblematic figures of traditional Moroccan culture, these artists were as much adored as despised and stigmatised. Their songs based on the art of Aïta (literally ‘call’ in Arabic) were practised as a means of transmitting a collective and sometimes revolutionary message. The Chaabi (lit. ‘popular’) became an urban style of popular and traditional songs specific to Morocco, practised during traditional festivals and dedicated to dance.
To reinterpret extracts from these chaabi and traditional repertoires, Laïla surrounded herself with vocalists and musicians from the jazz and world scene, including some members of the Mâäk collective. In order to be as close as possible to the power and energy of these repertoires, the project also invites a group of women singer-percussionists. Together they form Les Sheikhs Shikhats & B’net Chaabi.
This joyful band offers us a multi-vocal adaptation of these songs on daring jazz arrangements, supported by a continuous rhythm tending towards trance. Les Sheikhs Shikhats & B’net Chaabi bring to the fore the sense of conviviality inherent to this generous music.
Arrangements & Musical direction
Laïla Amezian, Emanuela Lodato, Farida Zouj, Marie-Ange Teuwen & Fatou Traoré: vocals
B’net Chaabi – Jamila, Karima, Kaouthar & Mehdiya: vocals & percussion
Laurent Blondiau & Jean-Paul Estiévenart: trumpets
Toine Thys & Grègoire Tirtiaux: saxophones
Michel Massot, Nabou Claerhout & Adrien Lambinet: tubas, trombones
Etienne Plumer: drums
Ahmed Khaili: percussion
Info & booking
Koen Stynen – email@example.com
Photos © Lara Herbinia