Artistís biography for Rachid Halihal:
As a world-class musician, Rachid Halihal brings to the community
the true character and spirit of musics from the classical Egyptian
repertoire which is much loved throughout the Middle East; from the
Fertile Crescent; from diverse regions of Morocco and North Africa;
and also the mezmerizing music of the Arabian Gulf.
As a child, growing up in Fez, Morocco, Rachid played the nei and
sang, imitating the famous singers of the time. At age fourteen he
entered "Dar Aadyil" the Conservatory of Music in Fez. At first he
studied Western classical and Andalus music on piano and violin. He
soon expanded to include a variety of other instruments in order to
better express his native music. In addition to his voice, which is
best featured in the Andalus style, his strongest instruments are
the oud (similar to a lute without frets) and the violin, which he
plays in both the classical manner and upright resting on the knee
for Moroccan folkloric music.
Until 1986, Rachid played in an
Andalus orchestra in Fez, and at various occasions throughout
Casablanca. Then, over a span of fourteen years, he presented his
music to a more varied audience. This included an extended stay in
the Ivory Coast; one year in Sweden; one year in Finland, where he
and his seven piece band played at the Helsinki International Music
Festival sharing the bill with Cheb Khaled; and in the coastal city
of Agadir, Morocco, Rachid fully managed a night club, its musicians,
and folkloric troupe for seven of those years, playing his music
every night for the clubís primarily touristic and Arabian clientele.
On his violin, he accompanied many of Morocco's well known singers
who toured to Agadir. On many occasions he played with Mohammed Abdo,
one of the Arabian Gulf's most loved singers. During two years,
Rachid was invited numerous times to the Arabian Gulf as a singer
and oud player in his own right.
In Summer 2004 Rachid toured the USA with The Chicago Classical
Oriental Ensemble playing Moroccan Andalus music with Abdelfattah
Bennis, including Genesis at the Crossroads Festival in Chicago. He
was presented at Columbia University in concert with visiting
Israeli singer, Michel Cohen, with Moroccan singer Pinhas in New
York and Miami, as well as other ethnic concerts and events
throughout New York City. In 2003-4, Rachid was presented with his
band at Denver's Global Groove World Music Festival, with Nawang
Kechong in Aspen, in two separate Mid-East Dance concerts at the
Boulder Theater, Colorado, with Souhail Kaspar in Denver, Boulder,
Portland, and Los Angeles. Rachid also played at the Los Angeles
County Museum of Art for the inaugural King Tut exhibit in the US on
June 15, 05. In Summer of '05 Rachid toured the USA and Canada with
Rachid Taha (Algerian/French) Rai-rock band.
The music which Rachid
Halihal presents is soulful and poetic as well as very danceable to
the point that not an empty spot can be found on the dance floor
wherever he plays.