the NAKBA ... الـنـكـبــَـة حـق يـآبــى الـنـسـيــَـان

Friday, 28 December 2007

Najat Aatabou نجاة آعتابوا -:- Hope الأمل l'espoir


Album : Hope الأمل l'espoir

Artist : Najat Aatabou نجاة آعتابوا

Melodies :

{01}. Aouwaou Haou
أواوا هاوا
{02}. Ihewa Mama
ايهوا ماما
{03}. Ana Man Brikch Ana
أنا ما نبغيش أنا
{04}. Ana Chaftek Beaini
أنا شفتك بعيني
{05}. Mabkalou Maerjaa
مابقالو مايرجع
{06}. Je reviens pas
مغديش نرجع
{07}. Lala 3la Lamour
لالا على لامور
{08}. Cheri Nebrik
شيري نبغيك
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Suffused with emotion, Najat Aatabou's voice is among the strongest in popular Moroccan music. Her radiation and voice become explosive on the stage, while some of her movements originate in the jedba, the ritual trance of Northern Africa. Her dynamic performance and forward-looking viewpoints take her right into the hearts of Moroccan audiences and have made her a star.
Najat Aatabou (44) by now has 25 albums to her name and enjoys immense popularity, in her own country and also among Moroccan communities abroad. The Chemical Brothers scored a worldwide hit with Calvanize in 2005 (over one million singles sold). This song is an excellent example of the musical impact the sample of Just Tell Me The Truth by Najat Aatabou has on it. ?In my own, self-written traditional songs I try to sketch a fair picture of Moroccan women. I also try to defend their rights and to change prevailing views.?
In her songs she does not shrink back from presenting awkward issues. One of her songs for instance is about women having a love affair with a married man. Her message is: go out and find yourself another (?Shoufi Ghirou?)! Just imagine something like this in a country where such relationships are a punishable offence. ?I also put forward issues like adultery, infidelity and domestic violence and sing about girls abandoned by their boyfriends when they turn out to be pregnant. I advocate that parents must stand by their children at all times. I challenge prevailing views.?
This she used to do from an early age onwards. Rebellious, Najat grew up in the poor village of Khmisset in the central Atlas mountains. Singing was her favourite pastime, sneaking out of her bedroom window at nights to sing at weddings and school parties. It was at one of those weddings that someone taped her show while Najat was unaware of this. Although the cassettes sold well in Morocco, her relatives were less enthusiastic. ?It was downright disaster when they found out. They did not accept it, taking it that I had put the family to shame. My brothers wanted to kill me.?
So Najat, who had once dreamed of becoming a lawyer, decided to flee. ?In tears I went to the village shop that sold the illegal tapes of my performance. My family froze all contacts with me and I had nowhere to go. Herself a mother of three, she now owns various houses in Morocco and France.
?Purely by coincidence that day a producer walked into the shop. He had apparently heard the cassette somewhere and was looking for me. He asked me to rely on him, proposing that I joined him to Casablanca. Although I had no other choice it appeared to be my rescue.?
Downright seething Najat was. With all and everything. ?I found it so frustrating that as a woman I had no say in anything, hardly knew any rights or that as a child I was not allowed to wear the clothes I fancied. And there was no question whatever about talking to strange men. For these reasons her first hit was called ?J鮠ai marr钠(?I?ve had enough?) which is sung in Arabic all the same. By now Najat has dozens of hit to her name, like Shoufi Ghirou (Find a Better Man), Souvenir and Hadi Kadba Beyna (Just Tell me the Truth).
For three years to come there were no contacts with her family, but they were restored thanks to her manager. ?He went to the village where I was born to explain that I was not doing anything bad or immoral, which in fact was that everybody had been scared of. In the meantime my brothers had seen me on television as well and read about me in the papers, so the uproar had been calmed down?, says Najat, the first woman to release a cd in the Moroccan market. ?Our contact now is fine.?
Najat receives incredible amounts of fanmail, also from those who do not especially like her shrill notes at traditional rhythms, but who do like the message they convey. The interpreter of the popular ballad gathers inspiration from the occasionally distressing stories her admirers tell her. ?Much has changed for women over the past twenty years here; they have started working and travelling. What?s more, they have learnt to say ?no? now and then. All the same, a lot is still awaiting to be done and I hope my songs will help to achieve this.?
In the last year she underwent a great development. Together with her husband Hassan Dikouk she changed the style of her music, exchanging traditional instruments for a new sound with musical influences from instruments like bass and electric guitar, synthesizer, drum, congas and so on. Doing so, Najat Aⴡbou now wants to make these Moroccan songs accessible to music lovers all over the world.
The 2004 ?Morocco Swings? masterclass showed Najat in the main role; a film intended primarily to add a positive contribution to the position/liberation of Moroccan women all the world over.
Au Maroc, la Berbère Najat Aatabou, grande star de la chanson populaire châabi au royaume de Mohammed VI, tient une sorte de courrier du cœur, s’inspirant " des lettres, très nombreuses, que je reçois des femmes qui m’écoutent puis me racontent leurs problèmes. Et je les résous en chantant.
"Et quels sont les douleurs des femmes marocaines ?" Comme partout, des blessures d’amour. Des maris infidèles, des foyers parallèles, des mensonges. " Comment cette infatigable joueuse de mots, alignant des strophes (en arabe, parfois en tamazight, l’une des trois langues berbères du Maroc) comme une rappeuse du Bronx, traduit-elle ces blessures ordinaires ? " Eh bien, par exemple, j’ai une chanson, Souerret (Ces clés sont à qui ?). La femme prend le trousseau du mari, et passe en revue les clés les unes après les autres, la porte d’entrée, le garage, le bureau, et l’une ne correspond à rien... "
Femmes trompées, jalouses, jamais soumises, telles sont celles qui peuplent l’univers des chansons écrites par Najat Aatabou, qui fustige " l’homme qui ment toujours ", inventant travail et réunion, ou celui qui abandonne son épouse enceinte en prétextant que l’enfant n’est pas de lui. Au passage, elle s’en prend aux maîtresses, et cela fait un tube, Choufi Ghirou (Cherches-en une autre). Du groupe-phare de l’opposition marocaine, Nass-el-Ghiwan, elle dit simplement : " Eux, ils font de la chanson engagée. " Chapeau à large bord, maquillage impeccable, manteau à motifs panthère, Najat Aatabou promène des allures de star, légitimement. Enceinte, la " lionne de l’Atlas " a momentanément abandonné ses tailleurs-pantalons de cuir noir, au profit d’une robe de velours cernée de perles. A quelques jours d’un retour à l’Olympia, où elle avait fait ses débuts français en 1984, Najat Aatabou revient sur un parcours qui l’a menée de sa ville natale de Khemisset, dans le Moyen Atlas, au triomphe. En 1981, Najat Aatabou chante dans un mariage une chanson inspirée d’une histoire vraie : une de ses amies part en voyage, et à son retour son fiancé est mort. " J’en ai marre, j’en ai marre ", psalmodie la jeune femme.
Dans l’assemblée, un joyeux bootlegger enregistre secrètement la voix vibrante de Najat Aatabou. Quelques semaines plus tard, alerté par la radio et les cassettes pirates, le petit peuple marocain fredonne la chanson de cette inconnue dont on ignore le visage, le nom, l’identité. Najat entend sa voix par hasard en faisant ses courses. Sa famille aussi. " Je n’étais pas contente, dit-elle aujourd’hui. Je voulais faire des études, devenir avocate, mais... mektoub. Je suis tombée malade, clouée au lit. J’étais terrorisée par la réaction de mes frères. Chanter, pour une femme, était synonyme de mauvaise vie. " Najat se réfugie à Casablanca, et signe un contrat avec les éditions musicales Hassania. Bannie pendant plus de trois ans par sa famille, elle en fait une chanson, Ma mère qu’est-ce que j’ai fait ? Excuse-moi, c’est le destin qui nous a séparées, qu’elle vient de reprendre en duo avec Neneh Cherry. Najat Aatabou n’est pas à proprement parler une chikha, chanteuse traditionnelle à la parole libre, à l’instar des chikhates du Moyen Atlas. Celles-ci incarnent une tradition paysanne où le rythme est donné par le bendir et la mélodie appuyée par le luth lotar, tandis que Najat Aatabou en provoque le dévoiement urbain, synthétiseur et électrification en conséquence.
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