Google is celebrating the life of Haja El Hamdaouia with a special doodle on 28th October 2022. Haja El Hamdaouia (Arabic: الحاجة الحمداوية) was a famous Moroccan singer and songwriter. She is especially known for singing Moroccan Chaabi and Aita. The Moroccan chaabi music influenced multiple generations of artists with her innovative style.
Haja El Hamdaouia is born in 1930 in Casablanca, Morocco. Her father loved musicians and often hosted music troupes at their home. This inspired Haja to take theater classes where she learned how to sing and perform chaabi music, a genre that fuses urban and rural Moroccan folk music. She sang in front of the “patchwork” Orchestra.
In the early 1950s, Haja El Hamdaouia developed an interest in El Aita al Marsaouiya, a sub-genre of chaabi music characterized by poetic lyrics and blues-like melodies. This is one of the most popular styles of Moroccan traditional music. “El Aita” can be translated into “the call” or “the cry” in which performers sing about a particular cause. Haja breathed new life into the genre. With her sharp and powerful voice, she sang about everything from national independence to daily life.
Haja El Hamdaouia wasn’t afraid to push boundaries as seen in 1959 when Haja had the idea to sing in front of a makeshift orchestra. She performed at cabaret venues in Casablanca neighborhoods backed by a saxophone, organ, guitar, drums and violin. During this time, she created some of her most popular songs like “Daba Yij” and “Jiti Majiti”, which took on the subjects of femininity and love.
Haja continued to create and perform music for over 60 years. She headlined festivals in Essaouira and Oujda until the late 2000s. Find her music on streaming platforms and in music stores around the world. Thank you, Haja El Hamdaouia, for singing your heart out time and time again.