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Najat Aatabou


Najat Aatabou
Najat Aatabou


Born 19 May 1960, Khemisset, Morocco. Born into a traditional Berber family in the Atlas mountains, Aatabou gave her first public performance as a singer in 1983 while in her final year at law school. Her debut single, "J'en Ai Morre" ("I Am Sick Of It"), was released on cassette in the same year and credited simply to Najat, as she did not want her family to know about it (singing was not viewed as an acceptable career for a Berber woman). The song's lyrics were an angry protest at the treatment of women in Moroccan society. It became a huge local hit, selling over 450,000 copies in spite of being banned on radio and television. Following this success, and against the wishes of her family who had discovered her secret identity, she abandoned her studies and moved to Casablanca to pursue a career in music. Her subsequent songs continued to tackle social issues relating to the lives of Moroccan women in a direct and outspoken way, bringing her controversy and huge local cassette sales. Backed mainly by traditional North African and Arabic instruments, the bendir, a Berber kit drum, is always at the rhythmic heart of her music, with electric western instruments sometimes added (she has even experimented with synthesizers and drum machines). Wailing above this, Aatabou's raw but melodic voice often plays off a male chorus in a manner that echoes black American gospel singing.


The Voice Of The Atlas (Globestyle 1991)****, Country Girls And City Women (Rounder 1997)****.

Music Albums:

Country Girls & City Women *
Rounder Select

The Voice Of The Atlas
Globe Style - (import)

Source: Encyclopedia of Popular Music
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