Moroccan Musician Bouchaib Abdelhadi

Touring and performing throughout the Kingdom of Morocco in the 1980s with his orchestra, Bouchaib Abdelhadi has built a successful music career both in his home country of Morocco and in the United States. As a native of Casablanca and a multi-instrumentalist, Abdelhadi has taken the distinctive sounds of Morocco to a variety of audiences over the years of his career. He has been acclaimed for his work with Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet Company, and acknowledged for his contribution to Cuban composer and jazz pianist Omar Sosa’s album Sentir, which received a Grammy nomination. Other achievements of this talented musician include performing with Stephen Kent – a skilled didgeridoo performer, composer and percussionist – and World Music band Trance Mission.

Bouchaib Abdelhadi is an accomplished vocalist in North African and Middle Eastern traditions, including Andalusian al-Yqa, >Gnawa and Chaabi, as well as being proficient in playing the Moroccan violin, oud and percussion instruments. Considered by some to be the ancestor of the modern guitar, the oud is a pear-shaped stringed instrument with no frets, distinguishing it from the similarly shaped European lute. According to first century scientist, philosopher and musician Al-Farabi, the oud was crafted by the sixth grandson of Adam, Lamech, who hung the body of his dead son from a tree as a symbol of his grief, with the oud being inspired by his bleached skeleton. While the origin of the instrument is unconfirmed, its popularity has remained undiminished over the centuries and the oud features strongly in North African and Middle Eastern music.

Abdelhadi collaborated with American dancer and choreographer Alonzo King on a number of his contemporary ballet productions, including Ocean in 1994; Salt in 2005; and The Moroccan Project in the same year. In 2004, he composed and performed Heart Song in collaboration with Alonzo King and the New York-based Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. This multi-talented musician has embraced a diverse range of music genres such as Hindustani, jazz, rock and klezmer – the musical tradition of the Ashkenazic Jews of Eastern Europe. He also features on DJ Chebi Sabbah’s 2005 album La Kahena. Abdelhadi recently joined with Yassir Chadley and El Hameedeen for performances in the US promoted as offering an evening of “Organic, Unfiltered and Pure Moroccan Music with Magical Stories of the Sufis.” Most music-lovers would agree that the sounds of Morocco have an element of magic that is irresistible.