Bouchaib El-Bidaoui: The Legend of Aïta

Bouchaib El-Bidaoui is not only considered as a sheikh who was an outstanding performer of “Marsaoui” or an actor who stood up against the traditions and customs of the pre-independence society, but rather as an artistic legend whose name will forever be engraved in the history of Moroccan song.

Bouchaib El-Bidaoui, whose real name was Bouchaib Zoubir, was born in 1928 in the famous Bousbir district in the medina of Casablanca. He was orphaned at a young age and spent his childhood in the company of his sister who provided him with the care and love of a mother. Thanks to his education, he was able to master the French language. He also studied accounting, which allowed him to work in the office of a French lawyer, before managing a laundry where he met many artists such as Bachir Laalej, Ahmed Al-Baidaoui and Mofaddal Al-Hreizi, in front of whom he sang fragments of the Aïta, just as he did in front of the notables and great Casablanca families, among his clients, and who began to invite him to their parties where he had the opportunity to meet the pioneers of this popular art.

El-Bidaoui was very impressed by Sheikha “Arrono”, a Moroccan singer of Jewish origin. He also interpreted the songs of Sheikhates such as Sheikha Rouida, Sheikha al-bahlouliya lamzabiya. This is what led Habib al-Qadamiri to suggest that he join “Al-Kawakib”, a theater band that Bashir Laalej directed. Thus, his journey to fame began, especially after having masterfully played the female roles in the plays that the troupe presented. This was certainly a mark in Arab-Muslim society, which does not tolerate any violation of the masculine image.

Later, the public was able to meet him through the weekly comedy show “Laugh with me”, before delighting the hearts of Moroccans by interpreting the songs of the marsaoui, in the presence of the eminent violinist, the “maréchal Quibbou”, with whom he created his group.

Having achieved great notoriety, Bouchaib El-Baidaoui has become one of the most sought-after popular artists to perform at weddings and other festive occasions for the notables and large families of Casablanca. He even presented a performance in front of the late HM King Hassan II, during a grand ceremony marking the foundation of the Mohammed V Theater in Rabat.

At the height of his career, Bouchaib El-Bidaoui was diagnosed with cancer, which put an end to his career and forced him to go to hospitals and herbalists in search of a cure. He died in 1965, when he was only 37 years old, leaving behind him thousands of grieving fans who did not believe that he was gone.

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