Music lovers celebrate Laarbi Batma's unique voice

24 years ago, lovers of Ghiwanie song lost an icon of Moroccan cultural heritage. Laarbi Batma died on February 7, 1997. To celebrate his memory, fans have multiplied on social networks the sharing of the hashtag #nasselghiwane. Two decades after the departure of the iconic Laarbi Batma, the Moroccan and Arab public still identify with his songs which reflect their daily causes and concerns. Many of them shared songs and interviews from “Mejdoub” El Ghiwane. Despite his disappearance, the unique voice of “Ba Arroub”, which touched all generations, continues to resonate in the hearts of music lovers. Laarbi Batma is not an artist like the others. He is still the darling of the public and the architect of the Ghiwani movement. The French newspaper “L’Humanité” described him in 1986 as a “rhythm hunter”. Obsessed by the love of heritage and passionate about Moroccan music, he engraved his name and that of Nass El Ghiwane in the history of Moroccan culture. His beautiful poems and melodies continue to mark the generations. Simple, modest and above all creative, he was and will remain a genius of his Hay Mohammadi district, the district of art, culture, music and activism. Laarbi Batma could not live without writing and her art became contagious. His masterpieces inspired by Moroccan reality always seduce. Laarbi Batma’s mother was a big part of his passion. She inspired him with many famous songs. Laarbi was known for his haunting voice and his talents as an actor and poet of Zajal (poetry in dialect Arabic). The generations who have lived with Laarbi Batma remember his prowess on the stage of the former Municipal Theater of Casablanca, which he shared in particular with the playwright Tayeb Saddiki. In addition to the important role he played in the group “Nass El Ghiwane”, Larbi Batma has written unpublished novels, and screenplays such as that of the film “Janb Al-Bir” and plays “Lahbal fi Al Kouchina”, “Hajouj et Majouj”, “36”, etc., in addition to two novels “Khnata” and “Rihla ila Achark”, as well as his autobiography in two volumes, “Arrahil” ( Departure) then “Al Alam” (Suffering). A book steeped in Ghiwani life The artist Saïd Mouhafid recently published the second part of his book “When I flew in the sky of Nass El Ghiwane”. Written in Arabic, this book invites us behind the scenes of the Ghiwanies evenings and the trips he shared with the group. Saïd Mouhafid recounts unique moments, many of which have not been memorized elsewhere. The author transports us with the eye of a young lover in the world of Nass El Ghiwane. It is not limited to the social context that produced the mythical group. We can feel the love of a true fan and friend who recounts his conversations with Omar Saïd, Larbi Batma … The details are so present in this book that we can only imagine several parts of Ghiwanie life. The preface to “When I flew in the sky of Nass El Ghiwane” is by Larbi Ryad, journalist and specialist in Ghiwanie song. Ahfad El Ghiwane The group “Ahfad El Ghiwane” never misses an opportunity to pay tribute to the Rolling Stones of Africa. On February 7, he commemorated the 24th anniversary of the death of Laarbi Batma. Founded at the Hay Mohammadi in Casablanca, “Ahfad El Ghiwane” embodies a “strong loyalty for the generations of previous artists of the national artistic scene”, as wanted the poet of the zajal, Abderrahim Batma, who baptized this group in their offering the name and direction required. The “Ahfad El Ghiwane” group is the result of a meeting of young people who were inspired by authentic Moroccan art and invested themselves in popular cultural heritage. According to Mouhssine Abouzine, conductor of “Ahfad El Ghiwane”, the group found its vocation in ghiwanis songs and trances. “I prefer to talk about Ghiwani song or heritage instead of phenomenon, because that’s no longer the case. Nass El Ghiwane’s music is now part of our national heritage, ”he explains. As soon as the twins Mouhssine and Yassine Abouzine founded the group, they were joined by several musicians who were fans of this style. They then chained meetings, festivals and evenings at national and international level. The group constantly pays tribute to the heritage of Nass El Ghiwane. But he doesn’t just cover the ghiwani repertoire, he also produces his own hits.