"Rachid Halihal is one of Morocco's best ambassadors of music and culture. Rachid plays what he refers to as organic music — authentic music that reflects the real spirit, art, and traditions of North Africa and the Maghreb."

– Morocco World News



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 also upright resting on the knee for Moroccan folkloric music. Until 1986, Rachid played in the Andalus Orchestra of Fez and throughout Casablanca.


Over a span of fourteen years, Rachid presented his music to a more varied audience including an extended stay in the Ivory Coast and Sweden. He also spent one year in Finland where he and his seven piece band played at the Helsinki International Music Festival. For seven of those years Rachid fully managed a highly regarded night club in the coastal city of Agadir, Morocco. He managed the orchestra and folkloric troupe, playing his music every night. 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 2005, Rachid toured the U.S. and Canada with famed Algerian/French singer and activist, Rachid Taha and his Rai-rock band.


Rachid plays venues throughout the New York metro area with a full spectrum of accomplished musicians, as well as with his New York based band, Layali el Andalus; in 2008 they were presented at MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) in Manhattan, "Festival du Monde Arabe de Montrèal" in 2010, and in 2011 Rachid took them to Washington, D.C. to perform at the Kennedy Center in the Washington Revels production: Andalusian Treasures. In 2005 Rachid played at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) for the inaugural King Tut exhibit in the US where he played his oud and sang in traditional Egyptian style. He has been presented at United Nations cultural events representing Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Morocco, and at embassies, museums, and universities in concert, including Brooklyn Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Columbia, UNF, and music festivals throughout the country such as "Genesis at the Crossroads" festival in Chicago. Rachid played his more Spiritual music at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. In 2010, he did a residency, teaching and conducting the premier SF Bay Arab music ensemble, ASWAT, which consists of both Arabs and Americans all learning and enjoying this style of music. In 2012, Rachid collaborated with the Graduate Center at City University of New York to found and lead a community instrumental and vocal ensemble, now called the New York Andalus Ensemble. Recently, in 2019, Rachid played at Lincoln Center for the screening of the film: "Morocco: A King, A Vision, An Ambition" and also played at IHRAF (International Human Rights Art Festival) in New York City. Rachid regularly teaches at festivals and retreats, not only to students of music but also works with dancers to further their understanding of the Arabic music they dance to.