Fatna Bint Al Houssein: The Legend of Aïta

Fatna Bint Al Houssein is an icon of popular song in Morocco and a true legend of the “Aita”. She is a Sheikha who was and still is, despite her death, respected and appreciated by Moroccans who love her powerful voice and her wonderful interpretation, to such an extent that the public has nicknamed her “the artist of the people”.

Fatna Bint Al Houssein was born in the mid-1930s in the Sidi Bennour region, a suburb of Doukkala, into a conservative rural family that oppose her entry into the singing profession because of the bad reputation of the “Sheikhates”. Only her sister supported her in the pursuit of her passion.

This passion for popular songs began at an early age. She sang them at weddings and events in the countryside, before she was forced, due to problems with her family, to move to the town of Youssoufia, where she joined Sheikh Mahjoub’s group and his wife Sheikha Abdia, and quickly gained a lot of attention.

Later, she went to Safi, the fortress of the “Aita Al Hasbaouia”, then to Casablanca to join the group “Oulad Ben Aguida” with whom she recorded more than 200 songs. She has a style of her own that lovers of this musical genre will find in most of her songs such as “Kharboucha”, “Achalini” and “Dami”, “Hadak Habibi”, etc.

Like the other Sheikhat of her time, Fatna Bint Al-Hussein devoted her entire life to Aita. She did not marry and did not have children. Making a fortune was the least of her worries. All she was interested in was transmitting her wounded voice to her audience who loved her desperately.

Fatna Bint Al Houssein lived away from people of power and influence. And until her death in April 2005, at the age of seventy, she remained faithful to her humility, simplicity and sincerity, as well as to her great passion for the “Aita”, from which she nevertheless turned away after a pilgrimage, made about 3 years before her death.

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