Primary Instrument: Vocalist
Moroccan French world jazz singer/composer/producer, MALIKA ZARRA is a multi-cultural shape-shifter, an enchantress who leaps effortlessly between seemingly unconnected languages and traditions, uniting them while utilizing each to further enrich the others. The exotically beautiful artist with the velvety, sinuous mezzo-soprano voice has demonstrated a rare ability to communicate both powerful and subtle ideas and feelings in French, English and Moroccan Arabic and is now a much-in-demand headliner at nightclubs and festivals the world over.
Malika was born in Southern Morocco, in a little village called Ouled Teima. Her father's family was originally from M'Hamid, an oasis just off the Sahara, while her mother was a Berber from the High Atlas. During her early childhood, there was always music and dancing in the house and Malika sang almost from babyhood. After her family emigrated to a suburb of Paris, she found herself straddling two very different societies. “I had to be French at school yet retain my Moroccan cultural heritage at home, she recalls, Like many immigrant children, I learned to switch quickly between the two. It was hard but brought me a lot of good things too”....
The lines between Middle Eastern music and jazz are there to be drawn.
Ornette Coleman has played with the Master Musicians of Joujouka, and Pharoah Sanders recorded an album with Maleem Mahmoud Ghania, of the Gnawa tribe. Now, Moroccan vocalist Malika Zarra is arriving at this crossroads from the opposite direction, infusing the music of her native culture with jazz. Her self-released debut CD, On The Ebony Road, mixes rhythms from chaabi, Berber and Gnawa music with jazzy improvisation and smooth, seductive vocals. --Phil Freeman, GLOBAL RHYTHM