Haj Younes: The Ambassador of the Moroccan Oud

His full name is Acharif Al Idrissi Younes Moulay M’hamed, but the Moroccans know him by his favorite name, Haj Younes. A Casablanca native of the Oulad Hariz region, he was passionate about the music to which he gave his whole life.

Haj Younes is one of the most famous musicians and players of the Oud, not only in Morocco, but throughout the Arab world. He has traveled the world with his musical instrument, traveling to all continents and performing in more than 50 countries, such as Cambodia, Brazil, India, the United States of America, Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Germany, Portugal, Vietnam, Singapore, among others, without forgetting of course the Arab countries such as Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania, Qatar, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, etc., thus deserving the title of ambassador of the Moroccan Oud.

Haj Younes is a school in its own right in the Oud. He is known for his wonderful improvisations, making him an exceptional player.

He is also a composer. He has composed for great Moroccan artists such as Naima Samih, Latifa Raafat, Hayat Al-Idrisi, Ismail Ahmed, Nadia Ayoub and Souad Mohamed, as well as for the great Egyptian artist Nadia Mostafa. He also supervised the musical creation for many films including “Doumoua annadam” where Mohamed Al Hayani played.

Haj Younes has received many distinctions in Morocco and abroad. In 2000, he was awarded the Culture of Peace Medal at United Nations Headquarters in New York. In 2004, he received the title of Ambassador of Moroccan Culture in the United States of America. He had previously received a medal from the Académie française. But the most important distinction he received was the Order of the Golden Udder awarded by the late HM King Hassan II, in recognition of his great talent.

Thus, Haj Younes became one of the artists to whom HM Hassan II opened the doors of his palace, and who performed before him and his guests on numerous occasions and during celebrations organized by His Majesty. And it was for almost 13 years that he played in front of him.

Haj Younes has loved music and in particular the Oud since his childhood. He enrolled at the Casablanca Conservatory when at the age 16 years old. He was trained by the great artist Souleiman Ahmed Chawki, before becoming a professor of the Oud in the same institute for 15 years, during that time a large number of Moroccan musicians were trained by him, before becoming director of the Conservatory, then general coordinator of the Conservatories of Music and Performing Arts in Grand Casablanca for 17 years.

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