Dkaa El Marrakchia Music
Dkaa El Marrakchia is a popular folk music distinct to Morocco, especially Marrakech. The members of the group have different social statuses. These include shopkeepers, artists and artisans,.etc. The Dakka is performed by male musicians and involves much drumming while maintaining a striking rhythm with hands. The sound is produced when all members of the group clap hands uniformly. It is a unique rhythmic that is correctly defined and mastered.
Dakka is an art that brings joy and entertains the community together. The members of this entertainment group have become accustomed to excelling in Dakka competitions during Ashura’s night. This is to perpetuate this rite so anchored in the city’s heritage.
Med Bellamkaddam (Aka Baba) is One of the most famous leaders of the “Marrakech” group of the “Dkaa.” For years, he led the troupe all over Morocco and worldwide to promote this authentic music.
This folkloric music is well coordinated by its members while performing the Dkaa. In the Taguya (little hat), the singers dress in Djellaba and form a circle or semicircle. The troupe consists of many percussionists who start with songs evoking the city’s saints with all the compliments they deserve. The broad and majestic character of this first phase, led by the percussionist, is somewhat reminiscent of the dances of the Ahwâsh.
The second phase is simple, moderate and repetitive. It is a preface to modify the rhythm expected during the third and last phase of this Dkaa, called Afoss, which means hand in Berber. The rhythm starts slowly, then accelerates like a cadence.
Male artists create sounding beats on traditional percussion tools. These include the Taarija, Naffar, Lakrakash and Tara. At the same time, others elevate their voices in choral incantations. The music is unique and attracts the audience like a magnet. This is because of its simplicity and the fun atmosphere it creates. The music boosts and reenergizes the spirit and pays tribute to the saints of Marrakech.
Some Fact about Dkaa El Marrakchia
- This traditional art has existed for centuries. It still occurs once a year, during the “Achoura” Festival. It is an integral part of the cultural heritage dating back to the Saadian dynasty.
- Many say that the Dkaa movement has its origins in Taroudant. It shapes who they are, and it is part of their identity. Some suggest that Dkaa El Marrakchia originates from the imperial city of Marrakech.
- Dkaa Marrakech is mainly highlighted during the religious Festival of “Achoura,” celebrated on the tenth day of the Muslim New Year. It is also practiced on many occasions, social events, and ceremonies.
- Dkaa el Marrakchia is considered to be an exclusively male musical genre. Its members come from families of craftsmen, shopkeepers, and artists. It is distinguished by polyrhythmic percussion and choral songs.
- The Festival of Achoura is the privileged time of Dkaa el Marrakchia music. The whole Medina enjoys tambourines, rattlesnakes and “Neffar,” a long copper horn. This is while each Dkaa el Marrakchia group from each district competes in virtuosity in the Medina alleys before meeting in the Menara Gardens.
The Dkaa flourished in the districts of Marrakech, and craftsmen were the artists of “D’Kaykiya.” One of the goals of playing this folkloric music is to forget the arduousness of their daily routine.
Dkaa el Marrakchia pays tribute to the saints of Marrakech and the area. The region’s spiritual saints are referred to as “Sabaatou Rijal,” which means seven spiritual people.
The seven spiritual guardians of the metropolis are:
- Qadi Ayad.
- Imam Souhayli.
- Imam El Jazouli.
- Sidi Youssef Ben Ali.
- Sidi Abdelaziz Tabbaa.
- Abou El Abbas Essebti.
- Sidi Abdellah El Ghazouani (called Moul Laksour).
DKaa Marakchia groups demonstrate their capacity to become a single body, stable and united. They have one sole and sacred motto, “one for all and all for one.” Each city district possesses a group of men, and their musical ear distinguishes each group. They can grip the sense of rhythm and have enough energy to raise the sacred leader’s standard to the highest level.
These districts are:
- Ben Salah.
- El Moukkaf.
- Bab D’Bagh.
- Bin Laarassi.
- Derb Dabachi.
Dkaa el Marrakchia is an ancestral tradition of the region. It is a vital historical and cultural aspect of Morocco and Marrakech people. Thus, it is integrated well into the international Festival of Marrakech. This is to develop, densify, and diversify the city’s artistic and cultural animation, benefiting locals and visitors. This creates a gathering space marked by tolerance and openness to others.
This festival also promotes the programming of certain events to enhance, preserve and perpetuate local folk arts. It is celebrated in February of every year. It is arranged by the Asdekaa Nakhil Association, “Friends of the Marrakech Palm Tree.” The festival event always incorporates Dkaa el Marrakchia yearly. This is so that this generation doesn’t forget their cultural background and history of classical and folkloric music.
The organizers always involve the youth in the festival. They include them in traditional music performances. This is to get the youth even more involved and to create community awareness. This allows Dkaa el Marrakchia to sustain its status for years to come. This way, the youth are inspired and encouraged to stay connected with their heritage. The festival organizers also integrate workshops, exhibits, conferences and more to make it a complete package.
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