Hamid Zahir… From the “halqa” to a Family Celebration Star

He is the star of Marrakech song, he is one of the greatest Moroccan folk artists who, throughout several decades, have amazed Moroccans with their refined art.

From a young age, he has been passionate about singing and art, thanks in particular to his mother of Syrian origin who worked as a singer in a restaurant in the ‘red city’, before finding his favorite refuge in “Jamaa Lafna” square. He went to his “halqas” to discover the different types of art that were performed there at that time in the form of songs, dances, folk tales and street theater, before he worked in “halqa” in the late 1940s, in the company of a musical group, as a percussionist.

According to a recent article in Zamane magazine, “Zahir not only made halqa, but also accompanied amusement shows known as circuses and sang solo to persuade the audience to buy tickets in order to earn household utensils before suddenly becoming a popular singer of medium fame.

Zahir will turn away from the “derbouka” and “halqa” to become in just a few years, the star par excellence, of wedding celebrations in Marrakech, given the originality of his popular style and his songs that bring joy to the audience, despite their simplicity, and even more often, their naiveté. “The artist Hamid Zahir has invented a new style, all in originality,” says the article in the magazine Zamane.

Zahir’s fame soon spread to other Moroccan cities, such as Casablanca and Rabat, following the broadcast of many hit songs that impressed the audience. These include the song “Marrakech ya sidi koulou fareh bik” (All Marrakech, Lord, is delighted to see you) that he performed during a visit to Marrakech by the late HM King Hassan II. A song that was a good omen for him. It will be followed by songs that have become famous, such as “Lalla Fatima”, “Ana andi miad”, “Ach dak tamchi lazzine”.

At the end of his life, Zahir suffered greatly from the illness that put him to bed before he died in December 2018 in his home in Marrakech, at the age of 81.

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