Oudaden, the living legend of amazigh music

Oudaden, one of Morocco’s mythical groups of the last twenty-five years, draws its inspiration from traditional Amazigh music. The group is passionately devoted to its roots, which they update into a lively music that enjoys the support of the Moroccan audience since its early days, while more and more foreign spectators are growing enthusiastic.

The story of Oudaden starts in 1978 in the sunny streets of Bensergao, within a stone’s throw of Agadir. A place where neighbours are united, and that is exactly what the founders of Oudaden are. Playing their own instruments, they draw on the repertoire of the Rways (Berber troubadour singers) which they do not hesitate to modernize, what appears, at the time, as a revolution that immediately makes them stand out and causes several controversies among the traditional Rways.
Between 1979 et 1985, Oudaden is gaining unexpected fame, in a period when Internet doesn’t exist yet, nor CDs, nor Ipods. While they perform at more and more family parties without ever thinking of recording an album, their reputation is growing fast thanks to their new fans that disseminate their music with the technical means of the time: tape recorders, audiocassettes sold under the table… They end up being noticed by a record company, Sawd Al-Maârif, that allows the group to realize their first album in 1985.

After several tours in the United States and in Europe, especially on the stages of Bercy and the Zenith in Paris, and 25 albums contributing to the revival of Amazigh songs, the group has gained recognition of both media and world music professionals. Also, during the 2006 edition of the Babel Med Music Forum, Oudaden was selected to the « Prix France Musique des Musiques du Monde » and programmed at many European festivals and venues. Their latest performances include Mali in 2007, Tanzania and Malaysia in 2009, France and Brazil in 2010, Denmark and Netherlands in 2011. Last year at the initiative of Brahim El Mazned, artistic director of the Timitar Festival, they recorded the album of their 25th professional anniversary.

The music of Oudaden is a clever mix of typical bendir and nakus sounds, these traditional Amazigh instruments that they combine with modern ones like banjo, electric guitar and tam-tam. In their universal lyrics they explore the subtleties of love as well as the economic and social difficulties of their region, being the spokespersons of Amazigh culture.