Sheikhs Shikhats & B’net Chaabi

Sheikhs Shikhats & B’net Chaabi

Sheikhs Shikhats & B’net Chaabi is a colorful and exuberant extra large ensemble led by Laïla Amezian. With this group, Laïla pays tribute to the shikhats and ghanayats, singers who fought for freedom of expression in 19th-century Morocco through popular ‘chaabi’ songs.

Inspired by this Maghrebi musical tradition, the Sheikhs Shikhats & B’net Chaabi offer an original and exciting mix of jazz, urban ethno and traditional Moroccan songs. To accompany her in this extraordinary creation, Laïla called on Laurent Blondiau for the musical direction.


Together they take us on a journey into their personal musical universe, where one can also recognise unique and timeless elements of the traditional chaabi repertoire, such as repetition, lament or rhythms evoking trance. As the cherry on the cake, Laïla invited singer-composer Olivier Thomas to give the voices a new and contemporary dimension.



To bring this musical universe to life, Laïla and Laurent have called on top vocalists and musicians with very diverse backgrounds. To name but a few: members of the Mâäk collective Michel Massot and Grégoire Tirtiaux, trumpeter Pauline Leblond, trombonist Nabou Claerhout or saxophonist Toine Thys. And to get as close as possible to the power and energy of Moroccan chaabi songs, Laïla invites the singer-percussionists of B’netChaabi.


“Beautiful warm voices, infectious percussion and a tight horn section.

The whole is overwhelming and sucks you into a colorful vibe.” – Luminous Dash


Order Sheikhs Shikhats & B’net Chaabi


Genre: chaabi; jazz; urban ethno

Label: Zephyrus Records

Release: 2023



Laïla Amezian, Emanuela Lodato, Farida Zouj, Marie-Ange Teuwen & Fatou Traoré: vocals

B’net Chaabi – Jamila Akhdim, Karima Arabi, Kawtar Abdoune & Mehdiya Sultana: vocals & percussion

Laurent Blondiau & Pauline Leblond: trumpets

Toine Thys & Grègoire Tirtiaux: saxophones

Michel Massot, Nabou Claerhout & Adrien Lambinet: tuba, trombones

Jean Gnonlonfoun: drums

Ahmed Khaili: percussion


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