Vanessa Paloma Elbaz, Ph.D.
Research Associate, University of Cambridge


Nicola Carpentieri, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor and Director of Arabic & Islamic Studies, University of Connecticut

Najib Mokhtari, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director of MEdiNA Studies Program, Université Internationale de Rabat


Avinoam Patt, Ph.D.
Doris and Simon Konover Chair of Judaic Studies, and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, University of Connecticut

Popular Music in Morocco: A Common Language between Jews & Muslims
Tuesday, March 9, 2021 | 11am EST/5pm Morocco

Hosted by the University of Connecticut and Université Internationale de Rabat
Virtual | Free | Open to public

Morocco’s population has used music for generations to transmit unofficial and unwritten knowledge. It is the medium par excellence that has been mobilized to express the ideas of the masses or to shape desired intellectual trends historically and until today.

This form of mediated communication cuts transversally through boundaries of gender, linguistic and minority societal frontiers. Addressing questions such as: Is Moroccan Jewish popular music a common language with Moroccan Muslims? Is there then, a sonic perception of commonality? What could be the difference between the popular music written and sung by a Jew and that by a Muslim after Independence, if any? This talk explores the way Moroccan popular music, otherwise known as chaabi and the Jewish version which has been recently labeled chgouri, functions as a common language between Muslims and Jews in contemporary Morocco. Focusing on the period after the Arab Spring and Morocco’s constitutional referendum, Elbaz develops the way music has been deployed for the cementing of commonality within diversity and the intrinsic belonging of Jews to the contemporary Moroccan state.