[This article is part of a dossier on Tankra Tamazight, Amazigh Revival, and Indigeneity in North Africa, edited by Brahim El Guabli. To read other articles in this dossier, read the introduction here.]
The proliferation of Amazigh culture for the sake of sustainability, maintenance, and resistance has taken assorted modes of expression and dissemination. While Amazigh intellectual production was slowed down by various factors, Berber/Amazigh music has thrived in the middle of a politically and ideologically changing post-independence Morocco. The process of Arabization during the second half of the 20th century, following the colonial stratagem of 'divide-and-rule', disfavored the emergence of Amazigh as an equally important linguistic, cultural, and identitarian (huwwiyātī) component beside Arabic. The cultural, not to mention political, ascendancy of Amazigh language was deemed as a far-fetched and too-ambitious project. Voices calling for the value equation of Amazigh language, spoken by at least a half of Moroccans, to that of Arabic in the public sphere was considered by its opponents a form of fitna (discord), threatening the unity of Moroccans. Prior to any manifest movement for the Amazigh cause, rwāys constituted, albeit informally, the vectors of revolt, Amazighity’s voice for recognition and dignity. In the midst of debates about the place of Berber/Amazigh among Moroccan languages and cultures, remarkable music figures managed to establish themselves as fixtures of Morocco’s musical history. Lhaj Belaid, Omar Wahroush, Mohamed Demsiri (Albensir), Fatima Tabaamrant, and Abdelhadi Igout (Izenzaren), to mention but a few, are viewed as icons of the Amazigh song, and musical bearers of the Amazigh cause.
Working on Tirruyssā, the musical and performance art of rwāys, would open up productive venues for theorizations on the interplay of music and ethnicity. Tirruyssā offers an alternative to hegemonic musical expressions, such as the imported classics of Egypt, of which Albensir had expressed a bitter indignation because of the role they played in overshadowing Amazigh musicians. Tirruyssā is a popular Amazigh genre that exists throughout the Tashlḥyt areas of Morocco and which, in a way, forms the canonical musical tradition in these places. If much scholarship has been produced on the interrelation of music and Blackness and how this pertains to the question of resistance and postcoloniality (Gilroy, 1991), it is high time scholars examined the junctions of music and Amazigh ethnic identity in the public sphere.
I argue that Lhaj Belaid, Demsiri and Fatima Tabaamrant, three canonical figures of the genre, have formed an Amazigh sonorous form of literature. Their songs, which memorialize a significant legacy of immaterial patrimony, provide a range of themes through which 'Amazighity' could be examined. My choice of these particular singers emanates from the crucial role they played in raising public awareness about Amazigh identity in Morocco. These artists have developed a wider listenership both in Morocco and abroad. Examining their politico-historical contexts and providing a brief analysis of their poems will deepen our knowledge of their foundational role in the development of identity of the Amazigh musical scene.
Lhaj Belaid's: A Living Site of Memory
Born in 1873 around the suburbs of Tiznit, Lhaj Belaid is a pioneering figure in the world of Amazigh music, and one of the voices that have stood the test of time as far as Amazigh culture is concerned. In fact, various sources consider Lhaj Belaid the first recorded Amazigh singer. Before Lhaj Belaid’s recordings, Amazigh music existed but it was not recorded. His importance as a musical figure was such that his portrait was exhibited alongside King Mohammed V’s in Amazigh homes. Neither death nor the passage of time has diminished his iconic presence in Amazigh collective memory. Lhaj Belaid’s pictorial and performative legacy bear witness to this fact. Belaid’s songs address themes of love, nature, pilgrimage, and migration, among many other life topics. His poetry is replete with descriptions of different places and destinations, extending from Morocco to Paris to Egypt.
In his poem 'Lmakina' (the machine), Belaid opens up a variety of interpretations as for the connotations of 'machine'. He begins praising 'Bab n Lmakina,' (the owner of the machine) for being enabled to perform intact recordings to speech. Belaid's 'machine' may particularly refer to the first mechanical phonograph made available to register his songs. In this song, 'Lmakina' also refers to other mechanical means of transportation, specifically cars and buses, giving his musical creations an important aspect of mobility and migration. These issues first emerged as a significant theme in Amazigh music in the 1930s (El Moujahid, 2012). Rwāys, by virtue of their profession, are mobile human beings, and Belaid’s poetry is replete with references to change and transformation that he witnessed in the different places where he traveled.
Migration and mobility are reflected in the lexicon of his songs. Tomobil (car); Tomobilat (Cars), CTM (Name of a Bus Company); Lbabbor (Ship), along with phrases and expressions on destination and mobility, such “Lakhbār n Fes ulā Mrraksh, kigh ar Aglmīm” (I got news from Fez and Marrakesh, further to Guelmim); “yān ikshmn d Troudant” (The one who enters Taroudant). Belaid was fascinated by the mechanized world and the easy access and travel it offered to wayfarers like him. He marvels at how human life is made easier and faster thanks to the technical and mechanical inventions. He appreciates the comforts in the ‘dwelling’ vehicles, reflecting on the blessings of mechanized transportation. For those who desire to go to Mecca, they don't have to carry stuff:
ⵉⵇⵇⴰⵏⴷ ⴰⵏⵏⴰⴷⴷⴻⵔ ⵜoⵎoⴱⵉⵍ ⵓⵍⴰ ⵍⴱⴰⴱⴱoⵔ
It’s a must to mention cars and ships
ⵉⴳⵀ ⵓⴽāⵏ oⵓⵙⵙīⵏ ⵍⵃⵊⵊāⵊ ⴰⵔ ⵎⴰⴽⴽⴰ
As they ferry pilgrims to Mecca Pilgrims to Mecca
ⵡⴰⵏⵏⴰ ⵉⵔāⵏ ⵍⵃⵉⵊⵊ ⴰⴷūⵔ ⴰⵙⵙīⵏ ⵡⴰⵍū ⴳⵀ ⵓⴳⵀⴰⵔāⵙ
He who wants to go pilgrimage does not need to carry anything on their way
Elsewhere at the end of Paris poem, he refers to the easiness of travel:
ⵓⵔ ⵙūⵍ ⵉⵍⵍī ⵙⵀⵇⴰ ⴳⵀ ⵍⴱⴻⵔⵔ ⵓⵍā ⴳⵀ ⵡⴰⵎāⵏ
No more difficult on land or over water
ⵡⴰⵏⵏā ⵉⵔāⵏ ⴰⵎⵓⴷⴷⵓ ⴰ ⵓⵔ ⵢⴰⴽⴽⴰ ⵍⴰ‘ⴷⵓⵔāⵜ
He who needs to travel has no more excuses
The issue of migration in Belaid's poetry goes beyond the geography of Morocco into the Middle East and Europe. In another masterpiece entitled Amuddu n Bārīz (A Trip to Paris), which dates from 1933, Belaid chronicles his journey to Paris as a utopian destination, relating the news of his immigrant compatriots. In this poem, Belaid particularly provides accounts on Moroccan immigrants. He occasionally pictures journeying as an industrious endeavor that causes pain homesickness and exile: ⴰⵡā ⵀāⵏ ⵍⴼⵉⵔⴰⵇ ⵉⵙⵀⵇⵇⴰ ⴱⴰⵀⵔⴰ ⵉⴱⴰ‘ⴷ ⵍⵃāⵍ /Awā hān lfiraq ishqqa bahra iba‘d lḥāl/ [Separation is hard, and the distance is so far]. Despite the difficulty of separation, most of the stanzas eulogize Paris and praise its positive impact on immigrants back home. Belaid emphasizes the benefits Morocco and Moroccan families have gained thanks to immigrants' remittances:
ⵎⴽⴽⴰⵔ ⴷ ⵉⴰⵎⵎⴰⵔⴻⵏ ⵉⴷ ⴱo ⴼⵔⴰⵏⵙⴰ ⴰⵜⴻⵏⵜ ⵉⴱⵏⵏoⵓⵏ
Buildings are constructed by Immigrants;
ⴽoⵡⵎⴻⵏ ⵜⵉⵎⵣⵉⴳⵓⵉⴷⴰ ⵙⴽⵉⴳⴰⵏ ⴷ ⵍⵎⴰⵍⴰ
They donated a lot to Mosques;
ⴽoⵡⵎⵎⴻⵏ ⵜⵍⴱⴰ ⴷ ⵉⵎⵀⴷⴰⵔⴻⵏ ⵙ ⵍⵀⴷⵉⴰⵜ
They gave gifts to priests and disciples;
ⴽⴰⴷⴰ ⴷⵍⵎⴰⵀⴰⵍⴰⵜ ⴰⴷ ⴼoⵓⴽⴽⴰⵏ ⵙ ⵍⵎⴰⵏⴷⴰ ⵏ ⴱⴰⵔⵉⵣⴰ
Remittances from Paris solved many problems
Many Moroccan families secured housing thanks to their Paris-based relatives’ salaries. His accounts of Egypt, describing the grandeur of the pyramids and the Azhar, are similar:
ⵎⵉⵙⵔ oⵓⵔ ⵉⵀⵓⴷⴷⵉ ⵔⴰⴽ ⵏⵎⴻⵍ ⴽⵔⴰ ⴳⵀ ⵍⴰⴽⵀⴱⴰⵔ ⵏⴻⵙ
Egypt is huge; I'll give a brief account of it
ⵍⴰⴰⵊⴰⴱ ⵏⵍ ⴰⵀⵔⴰⵎ ⴷⵡⵉ ⵍ ⴰⵣⵀⴰⵔ ⴰⴼⴷ ⵉⵡⵉⴳⵀ
I brought you the wonders of the Pyramids and the Azhar Mosque.
In 2009, local authorities established a memorial edifice in homage to rāys Lhaj Belaid. This splendid sculpture was erected at the entrance to the House of Culture in Tiznit, commemorating the genre of Tirruyssa across the Souss region. The significance of such an initiative is a tremendous contribution to the circulation of cultural memories across this Amazigh cultural space. With this commemorative gesture, Belaid leaves the private sphere of home, where photographs are religiously displayed, to enter the public sphere in the open space of the House of Culture in the medina of Tiznit. The construction of the sculpture entails a 'recirculation' of memory by moving beyond the intimate scope of families/homes into a space that is more accessible for the general public. Photographs work for home memories of a musical era, but a public memory in the form of a sculpture reinvents Belaid’s iconicity in the public sphere. The House of Culture, a civil society institution, was named after the great Moroccan francophone novelist Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine (1941-1995). Originally from Tafraout, another southern town in the region of Souss, Khaïr-Eddine is the enfant terrible of Moroccan francophone literature. Standing in outside Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine House of Culture, Lhaj Belaid’s statue is that inscribed in multiple levels of signification by juxtaposing his memorial with the memory of Khaïr-Eddine. Belaid's sculpture creates a space for Amazigh music and literature to connect, opening a breach in the wall of linguistic separation. The memory of Souss, and Tiznit in particular, is hence commemorated through two prominent figures that, having lived in different historical periods, did a tremendous service to the sustenance of Amazigh language and culture.
Figure 1: House of Culture-Tiznit and Sculpture of Lhaj Belaid at House of Youth in Tiznit
Mohamed Albensir: The Polemical Rāys
Younger than Belaid, Mohamed Ajouhad, a.k.a Demsiri/Albensir (1937-1989), is probably the most daring Amazigh musician in post-colonial Morocco. Rāys Albensir, as most of his fans refer to him, had a turbulent life, moving from city to city, surviving a deadly accident, and reemerging from political imprisonment. Albensir and his music embody the social unrest that Moroccans went through in the 1970s and the 1980s. His songs cover a range of themes, the most significant of which denounced the mistreatment of Amazigh culture. His songs are rife with spectacular resistance to injustice with regard to the reception and perception of Amazigh songs especially by the media sphere in Morocco.
His songs show that music cannot escape reflecting the societal concerns of the people to whom it speaks. For example, Morocco’s structural instability in the 1980s led to a drastic surge in prices of staple products, which triggered a period of civil unrest in the country. Casablanca riots in 1981 and those of Nador in 1984 were highlights of these dry years. Hundreds of citizens lost their lives in confrontation with the police force or were imprisoned for their objection to the increase in the cost of living. Albensir composed and sang Aggurn (flour) in 1982. A long poem made of tens of verses that articulate the social tumult and its impact on ordinary Moroccans, Aggurn castigated the exaggerated prices, siding with the poor and lumpen proletariat of Morocco: "Thrra Lkhencht n'oggern tutti Ttaman nes / Bitter is the bag of flour, costing more than it’s worth]. Comparing a wide range of products, Albensir reveals his customer acumen in saying that ⴰ ⴽⵀⵉⵣⵣoⵓ ⴷ ⴱⴰⵜⴰⵜⴰ ⴷ'oⵓⴽⵀⵙⵙⴰⵢ Oⵓⴼⵏ ⵜⴰⵎⵎⴻⵏⵜ / "A Khizzou d Batata D'oukhssay Oufn Tamment / Carrots, Potatoes, and Squash!! have they become better than Honey?!," honey being a very valuable product in Morocco.
The song depicts disenchantment at the way in which Moroccans form lanes to buy staples that should be normally available to everyone. However, satire is also an underlining element of the ode. Combining both serious condemnation of the high prices and a satirical approach to them, Albensir makes a gentle call for boycott as an efficient alternative to protests instead of humiliatingly queuing for bread. Avant l’heure, Albensir engaged in musical condemnation of neoliberal policies dictated by the global financial institutions on the governments of Third World. Instead of accepting to offer their blood to global financiers represented by the World Bank and the International Monetary Funds, Albensir offers an alternative for the people to find haven in local organic resources like honey for instance in the sense that he satirically wonders how market products like carrots and potatoes have become more desirable than honey: ⴰ ⴽⵀⵉⵣⵣoⵓ ⴷ ⴱⴰⵜⴰⵜⴰ ⴷ'oⵓⴽⵀⵙⵙⴰⵢ Oⵓⴼⵏ ⵜⴰⵎⵎⴻⵏⵜ / "A Khizzou d Batata D'oukhssay Oufn Tamment / Carrots, Potatoes, and Squash!! have they become better than Honey?!,"
This contestatory spirit is also reflected in his song "Nga zound Izamaren / we are like sheep," displaying his rejections of the systematic subjugation of the people. 'Cattle are to be slaughtered' is an allegory for the pauperizing policy towards the under-privileged and impoverished majority of the population. "Awanna Dyusin Ajnwi nes/Aragh itsoutoul izakaren / whoever got his knife ready/begins to leash us," signifies a contestation to the law based on the unfair dichotomy of powerful versus powerless. Albensir's songs are framed within allegories of satire and criticism. He uses the Amazigh cause as a backdrop to express his resentment at the problems of political mistreatment, social class overlaps, and economic disequilibrium. Such arguments place him within the postcolonial category of subaltern singers. Therefore, the singer's attempts to resurrect the value for the subaltern self are manifested on linguistic, cultural, and political bases. The listener hears commendation of the peripherization of working-class people and their culture. The employment of the plural subject pronouns 'we,' 'our,' and 'us': "(Nga (we are) zound Izamaren/ Aragh (us) itsutul Izakaren)" places him within the category of the subaltern and establishes a collective campaigning for the cause.
The comparison between the Arab and the Amazigh is conspicuous in the way he was treated as a singer. In one of the songs, he highlights how Egyptian singers, such as Abdulwahab, Farid, and Kelthoum, had free access to the public sphere in Morocco whereas Amazigh singers were absented from national broadcast media channels. Depriving Amazigh songs of the national radio platform entailed a systematic erasure of a very significant component of Moroccan cultural identity. The singer mourns Tashlehyt:
ⵍⵇⵉⵎⴰ ⵏⵜⵛⵀⵍⵀⵉⵜ ⵉⴷⴻⵔ ⴳⵀ ⵉⵎⵓⵔⵉⴳ
The value of the Amazigh Language has fallen down
ⵍⵇⵉⵎⴰ ⵡⵉⵍⵍⵉ ⴷⴷⴰⵔ ⵜⵍⵍⴰ ⴳⵀ ⵉⵎⵓⵔⵉⴳ
Those who have value are
ⴼⴰⵔⵉⴷ ⴷ ⴽⴻⵍⵜⵓⵎ ⵏⵜⵜⴰⴷ ⴰⴱⴷⴻⵡⴰⵀⵀⴰⴱ
Farid, Kelthoum, and Abdulwahad
ⵢⴰⴽ ⴰⴱⴷⵍⵀⴰⵍⵉⵎ ⵎⴻⵙⴽⵉⵏ ⵀⵔⴰ ⵢⴰⴼoⵓⴷ
Abdulahim's just been rewarded, wasn't he?!
The song exposes how Amazigh and Arabic singers were treated differently in their own country’s media. Imported (Egyptian) music produced a systematic concealment of Tashelḥyt songs. Such an unfair treatment placed Arabic above Amazigh.
Dignity for the Amazigh is a recurrent topic in Albensir's songs. He explains that the Amazigh people are relegated to an inferior status among Arabs of all religions. A backward status that evokes a list of musical predecessors—Lhaj Belaid, Said Achtouk, Bihtti, Lmehdi, Wahroush. Albensir's evocation of Amazigh musicians is a tribute to his co-citizens in subalternity. He charts his own way of resistance, retrieval, and valorization, providing a strong discourse on the priority that needs to be given to the Amazigh cause.
Ofttimes, the following verse recurs: ⴰⴽ ⵉⴼⵙⵉ ⵔⴱⴱⵉ ⴳⵀ ⵓⵙⴽⴻⵔⴼ ⴰⵢⵉⵎⵓⵔⵉⴳ "Ak ifsi rbbi gh uskerf ayimurig/ Oh Amazigh music!! May you be freed from shackles." This is a significant motif that elucidates the struggle of Amazigh music, and the singer's earnest endeavor to liberate it from the shackles of concealment and forgetfulness. His allegories to Amazigh music and musicians as orphans, hibernating in the darkness in perpetual alienation and confinement are almost a constant refrain. He believes they need to be remembered and praised: ⵉⵎⴰⵏ ⵜⴳⵉⵜ ⵉⴳⵉⴳⵉⵍ ⴳⴰⴳⵀ ⵏⴽⴽⵉ ⵡⴰⵢⵢⴰⴷ "Iman tgit igigil gagh nkki wayyad / we're both orphans, indeed." In an enthralling verse, the singer images the Ribab and the Oud in a competitive interaction to reiterate the ongoing trope of cultural overriding of Amazighity by using its eponymous Ribab: ⴽⵉⵢⵉⵏⴷ ⵔⵔⵉⴱⴰⴱ ⵉⴽⴽⵉⵙⴰⵡⵏⵜⴻⵏⵜ ⵍ'Oⵓⴷ "Kiyind rribab ikkisawntent l'Oud / You, Ribab, got ripped off by Oud." Determined to supporting the Amazigh cause through lyrics and ribab rhymes, Albensir contributed to the construction of a collective culture of contestation. He engaged in conscious attempts to subvert hegemonic sonority, earning himself a prominent place as a symbol of Amazigh resistance and contestation.
Figure 2: Lhaj Mohamed Demsiri (Albensir)
Fatima Tabaamrant: Prophesying Amazighization
The Amazigh musical scene counts many women singers. One such famous and highly engaged singer is Fatima Chahou whose artistic name is Fatima Tabaamrant. Born in Ait Baamran tribal area in 1962, Tabaamrant hails from the southern town of Ifrane, which is only a few kilometers from the city of Guelmim, the southernmost part of Morocco.
Tabaamrant is viewed as a distinguished artist and politician. She is at once a singer, composer, feminist, and human rights activist. Her songs echo these roles in such a way that she became a shaper of Amazigh views of the younger generations. As a female artist, Tabaamrant has to navigate a doubly constrained subjectivity both as a woman and an Amazigh from the marginalized south. As a woman she is aware of her need to struggle to occupy the place she deserves in society. Building off of Lhaj Belaid’s and Albensir’s work, Rāysa Tabaamrant represents the culmination of Amazigh activism in the music of Rwāys. Amazighity is the main topos of her songs. She turns the concept of love, as a recurrent theme in Amazigh music, into a particular sublime love for an identity cause. Being a staunch advocate of women and underprivileged children, Tabaamrant adopts a humanistic approach that defends the equality of all identities that constitute Moroccan society. She tweaked love songs in her manner, declaring that : "j'ai remplacé les chansons d'amour par l'amour de la culture amazighe/ I supplanted love songs with a love for Amazighity." Tabaamrant maintains that musicians must take issues of resistance and change upon themselves.
It would be safe to contend that Tabaamrant's endeavor for advocacy of a legitimate linguistic and cultural cause has enabled her to establish and instill Tirruysa as a genre of activist music. Regardless of Tabaamrant's eclectically themed songs, the Amazigh identity is the cause to live and die for. In many lines, Amazighity is compared to air and water, and the verses in her songs are replete with forthright images of pride, which give her art an emotional charge of an amour propre rooted in a staunch belief in the cause: "Ayouz Ighwili Toromt a Timazighine (2014) / Proud be those who were given birth by Amazigh Women." Through repetition of numerous derivatives of the term Amazigh- Tamazight, Imazighen, Timazighine- in her songs, Tabaamrant engages in a process of crafting a unique style that profusely contains imageries of resistance and militancy for her indigenous identity. In Bidd-amt a Tamazight (2004), the singer addresses Imazighen to stand up for the inscription of Amazigh language from a deconstruction perspective.
ⴰⵏⵙⵙⴰⴽⵔⴰ ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⴳⵀⵜ ⴰⵏⴽⵛⵀⴻⵎ ⵉⵜⵜⴰⵔⵉⴽⵀ
We shall teach Amazigh, to be part of history
ⵍⵎoⴷⴷⴰ ⵊⵍⴰⵏⵉⵏ ⴰⴷⵏⴽⵜⵉ ⴳⵀⵉⵍⵍⵉ ⴳⵀⵍⵍⴰⵏ
It was hidden for a long time
ⵏⵉⵙⵙⴻⵏ ⵜⵉⴳⵀⵣⵉ ⵏ ⵜⵎⴰⵣⵉⴳⵀⵜ
We know it's old of age
ⵏⵉⵙⵙⴻⵏ ⵜoⵓⵔⵔoⵓⵜ ⵏⴻⵙ
We know its birth origin
ⵉⵎⴰⵙⵙⴰⵏ ⴰⵢⵎⴰⵣⵉⴳⵀⴻⵏ ⴰⵡⵉⵍⵍⵉ ⵙⵏ'ⵏⵏⵉⵏⴰ
Move! Those of you, Amazigh, who can
ⴰⵜⵏⵜ ⵉⵙⴰⵡⵍ ⴰⴼⴰⴷⴷ ⴰⵙⵏ'ⵏⵏⴰ ⴰⵜⵏⵜ ⴰⵔⴰⵏ
Speak it so that you can write it
ⴰⴼⴰⴷⴷ ⴰⵙⵉⵙⵉⵏⵜ ⵔⴱⴱⵓⵏ ⵡⵉⵍⵍⵉ ⵎoⵜ ⵉⵎⵎⴰⵍⴰ
and use it to bring up/educate its learners
The singer solicits the incorporation of Amazigh language in school curricula, drawing attention the necessary processes of codification, transcription, and institutionalization that need to happen to recover Amazigh from oblivion. No matter how Amazigh is transmitted through generations, an institutionalized form of enculturation is a dire necessity.
Almost a decade prior to these poetic summonses, Ayyuz nem a Tamazight (1995) initiates a significant debate on "Morocco's Amazighization," using the Amazigh graphs of Tifinagh (Soulaimani 2015; El Guabli 2020). On Tifinagh, Tabaamrant chants:
ⵢⴰ Oⵣⵎⵣ ⵔⵛⵀⴻⵎ ⵏⵜⵣⵔⴱⴰⵢ ⴽⴰⴳⵀⴰⴽ ⵏⵜⵜⴰⵏⵏⴰⵢⴰ
We would spot you once only as a symbol on rags
ⴰⴽⵉⴳⵀⵏ ⵙⴻⵔⴽ ⵔⴱⴱⵉ ⴰⵍⵀⴻⵔⴼ ⵏ ⵜⵉⴼⵉⵏⴰⴳⵀ
Oh!! Please Tifinagh Letter!
Tabaamrant celebrates the progress of Tifinagh, which once only resided in carpet decorations made by Timazighine (Amazigh women), to become a recogned and recognizable script. For Tabaamrant, Amazighness is a lifelong mater, and having fought for one’s identity is not a futile struggle. Like Lhaj Belaid, Albensir, and a number of other Amazigh singers, Tabaamrant holds a visionary approach for the future of Amazigh identity. Given the fact that the many legitimate rights sought by Imazighen have gradually been officially granted, gaining groundin the public sphere, Rāysa Tabaamrant has proven to be a real visionary. In one of her latest comments on the occasion of the release of Brahim El Mezned's Anthology of Rwāys, she expresses her enchantment with the way a public consciousness has been formed about the importance of Amazigh culture, meanwhile urging for more dynamism on the cause via documentation, studies, and conferences.
Tabaamrant is a female star whose undeniable uniqueness distinguishes from other singers. First, she is aware of her gender and draws on it to place women at the center of her work. At the inception of tirrūysa, tarrayssīn used to occupy the choral position, repeating after the main singer, usually the male rāys, Tabaamrant overcomes this marginal position by being the prima donna of her band both composing and singing in the most authentic ways. She becomes the agent singer who gave this musical tradition a feminist aura and militancy. Second, Tabaamrant becomes the first Amazigh singer from the margin to hold a political position of parliamentary membership. Her artistic fame, fostered by her originality and bona fide advocacy of Amazigh identity, enabled her to penetrate the political sphere. In 2012, Fatima became a pioneering figure in the political history of Morocco by addressing her question to the then-minister of Education, Mohamed Elouafa, in Tashlḥyt, which was a subversive act that took aback many commentators, trigger in a heated public debate about the necessity of teaching Amazigh language in schools. If Albensir's songs, to paraphrase Lovesey in another context, "bear witness to and memorialize acts of injustice," Tabaamrant's poems "inspire, organize, and re-energize resistance, calling for collective unity and activism [without] voicing demands for redress" (Lovesey 2016).
Figure 3: Fatima Tabaamrant
Regardless of the temporal distance and the particular historical and political contexts of each rāys, Amazighity has continued to be a phenomenon and a common cause for all of them. Despite its development and innovation, thanks to the use of electric instruments, Tirruyssa remains, more than ever, a powerful component of the Amazigh musical identity. Music, like Tifinagh, museums, mnemonic statues, and cultural institutions, function as "subversive memory," (El Guabli, 2020), which "creates or unearths diverse Amazigh-focused histories of Morocco, which has important consequences for citizenship, history, and collective memory."
Brahim El Guabli, (Re)Invention of Tradition, Subversive Memory, and Morocco's Re-Amazighization: From Erasure of Imazighen to the Performance of Tifinagh in Public Life. Expressions maghrébines, Volume 19, Numéro 1, été 2020, pp. 143-168.
Dris Soulaimani, “Writing and rewriting Amazigh/Berber identity: Orthographies and language ideologies,” Writing Systems Research, (2015). DOI: 10.1080/17586801.2015.1023176
El Houssain El Moujahid. L’immigration dans les chansons d’expression amazighe: Vision édénique et représentation dantesque. Dans Études et Documents Berbères 1, no. 3, (2012), pp. 117-126. https://doi.org/10.3917/edb.031.0117
Gilroy, Paul. “Sounds Authentic: Black Music, Ethnicity, and the Challenge of a ‘Changing’ Same.” Black Music Research Journal, vol. 11, no. 2, 1991, pp. 111–136. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/779262. Accessed 2 May 2021.
Oliver, Lovesey, Decolonizing the Ear: Introduction to “Popular Music and the Postcolonial,” Popular Music and Society, 40:1, 1 4, (2017). DOI: 10.1080/03007766.2016.1230695
 Authorities of the French protectorate (1912-1956) highlighted an Arab/Amazigh dichotomy as part of their 'divide-and-rule' policy in Morocco (Spickard, 2005, quoted in Souleimani, 2015).
 It is to be noted that the focus of this article is on the Tashelhit variety of Amazigh music, which is mainly in the region of Souss.
 The word 'Lmakina' is appropriated from the French word 'machine', and has been widely used as part of the vocabulary repertoire of both Moroccan darija and Tashelhit.' Note also that All translations from Tashlehit to English are the author’s unless otherwise specified.
 The sculpture was designed by artists Rachid Hahi and Mohamed Lguensat. See Aboulhorma's article: http://www.mapexpress.ma/actualite/opinions-et-debats/tiznit-honore-son-fils-prodigue-haj-belaid-par-une-statue-en-metal/.
 El Guabli’s recent contribution to the reinvention of Amazigh in the public sphere is of much pertinence in this context. I refer you to his article entitled: “(Re)Invention of Tradition, Subversive Memory, and Morocco's Re-Amazighization: From Erasure of Imazighen to the Performance of Tifinagh in Public Life,” Expressions_maghrébines, Volume_19,_Numéro 1,_été 2020, pp. 143-168._ _