By Nabyl Lahlou
If it had seen the light of day in North America, whose first amendment to the Constitution is a bumper against any infringement of freedom of expression, in all its states and domains, Hajja Hamdaouiya could have been a Dina Washington or Sarah Vaughan, two immense jazz singers, whose divine voices continue to make jazz lovers vibrate with happiness and pleasure.
If she was born, under the banner: Liberty. Fraternity. Equality, Hajja Hamdaouiya could have been a Piaf.
Do not paw!
If she had opened her eyes, under the blue sky of Cape Verde, Hajja Hamdaouiya could surely have been a Cesària Evora, this bewitching singer-storyteller, this “barefoot diva”, whose voice and melodies remain enchantments that easily cross all borders for the pleasure of hearing and mind.
Born in Casablanca, “The Year of the Berber Dahir”, which the General Residence promulgated in May 1930 to sow division and discord between Arab Moroccans and Berber Moroccans, but all united by Islam, Hajja Hamdaouiya, who was to surely to fall asleep, lulled by the Berber songs which glorified the courage and the bravery of the warriors and the resistance fighters who continued to fight against the French occupier who had officially seized the country in 1912, will be neither an Ella Fitzgerald, neither an Asmahane, nor a Maria Calas, but a good popular singer who will know, during her very long career, ease, glory and poverty.
Elegant, thin physically and lacking neither charm nor aura, Hajja Hamdaouiya will sing in the best nightclubs of the big hotels in Morocco.
So in 1970, at the Hôtel de la Tour Hassan in Rabat, I had the privilege of seeing her and listening to her sing. She was elegant in her simple and pure caftan, moving gracefully and wielding her bendir gracefully. With her voice, soft and suave, she sang beautiful songs, whose words, so simple, were pretty poems.
In 1970, Hajja Hamdaouiya who was already forty years old, could have met a great composer, Arab or European, who would have made him discover another way of interpreting ALAITA.
Imagine Barbara Hendrix singing these magic words that Hajja Hamdaouiya sings in one of her songs:
وانا بعدا حاضية البحر ليرحل “And I am here to watch that the sea does not leave”
Rabat, April 6, 2021
He acquired Lahlou