Sheikh Ahmed Zaïtouni

Ahmed Zaïtouni was born in Tangier in 1929, and began his musical education at a very young age. He was lucky enough to frequent masters of the al-Andalus style, who taught him the secrets of their age-old art. He was first and foremost the pupil of Sheikh Moulay Ahmed Ouazzane (1876-1965), who taught from his home and held concerts there; his house became a central meeting place for all the most important music-lovers of Tangier. Ahmed Zaïtouni studied with other masters too, including Larbi Siar, Mohamed Moudden, Mohamed Saïdi, Mohamed Raïs and Mohamed Merchani, thereby perfecting his technique on the lute and the violin. He accomplished the final stage of his musical training with the great Mohamed Larbi Temsamani.

In 1962 Moulay Ahmed Loukili offered him a place in the orchestra of Moroccan Radio and Television, led by himself; but Zaïtouni opted to remain in Tangier and began teaching in the music school of his native city, where he still gives lessons in al-Andalus style music and lute.

In 1981, with Mohamed Raïs as its leader, Sheikh Ahmed Zaïtouni formed the orchestra of Moroccan-Andalusian music attached to the Tangier Conservatoire. As head of this orchestra, he has represented Morocco at several international events, in Irak in 1986, and Italy and Spain in 1988. He has also taken part in several editions of the festivals of Chaouen (1982, 1983, 1992), Fès (1984, 1990, 1991) and Safi (1984).

Between 1989 and 1991, under the distinguished patronage of the Moroccan Ministry of Culture he recorded three nubas with the Maison des Cultures du Monde in Paris.

Saadane Benbabaali
Translated by Délia Morris

Album disponible : Andalusian music from Tangier