Bringing Moroccan Rap to the North African Diaspora in London
On Sunday 11th September, E11 Studios are hosting a Moroccan concert entitled ‘Ghorba,’ featuring four Moroccan rap artists. The concert aims to celebrating North Africans living in the diaspora and provide an opportunity for the diaspora community to come together and celebrate Moroccan rap. The event is the first of its kind being held in the UK and E11 hopes that it will launch a series of music and art collaborations between the UK and North Africa. The concert is being sponsored by Spotify UK, BBC World News and The British Council in Morocco.
BMS Administrator Ella spoke with Amine, CEO of E11 Studios, about the event.
Can you tell me more about E11 studios?
We are the first British Moroccan music studio in London, and we support creative arts in Morocco and the UK. We particularly work with those who need access to recording, production and video equipment, especially musicians who lack finances or face other barriers, such as discrimination. We are the only studio producing collaborations between the UK and Morocco and we are one of the only music studios in London working with musicians from difficult backgrounds and those who have learning difficulties, such as autism or Asperger’s syndrome. Ultimately, we make music to facilitate expression, in particular of difficult experiences.
We are hoping to hold more events in the future and work towards increasing exposure for Moroccan creatives in general in the UK and bridging the gap between the Moroccan community here in London and other areas of the UK so that we feel more united as a community. We are partly inspired in this aim by the unity and solidarity created by other diaspora communities here in London.
What inspired this concert?
Moroccans living abroad now amount to nearly 4.2 million people – that’s around 10% of the Moroccan population. As Moroccans in the diaspora, there are many things we miss about Morocco including our culture, traditions and family. We feel a real disconnection at times from Morocco and it’s also a shame that North African music in general is underrepresented in the UK. North Africa musicians are rarely heard or seen on the radio or TV here. We wanted to be the first to start bridging the gap between the UK and North Africa and what better way to do that than through the arts! This is one of the first times that a creative project is bringing Moroccan and UK artists together to work in collaboration on song, video and live performance in London.
We are naming this event the “Ghorba” (meaning homesick) to acknowledge and support those who have travelled away from Morocco, leaving family, culture, and tradition, and who sometimes struggle with this.
Can you tell me more about the artists?
The four influential artists playing include Khtek, Small X, Dizzy Dross and Stormy.
Khtek is one of the biggest female artists in Morocco. She has struggled with being accepted as a female rapper in Morocco and she expresses those struggles through her art. It was important for us to show that we are 100% behind supporting women to follow their dreams and passions and bridging the divide between men and women in North Africa.
Small X is a rap artist from Asfi, a rural area of Morocco which is unrepresented in the Moroccan music scene. We wanted to bring him to London as he represents the unheard in Morocco and he proves to communities that don’t have many opportunities to access arts that it’s possible to make it.
Stormy is a rapper who was chosen as he aims to combat racism through his music and unite Africa as one continent. His lyrics show that there are many different races within Morocco and that no matter the colour of skin, background etc., we should unite and stop racism in our community for good.
Dizzy Dross is one of the oldest and original rappers in Morocco. He was chosen as he started the game and brought it from the streets to the screens and made rap commercially viable and international. He was one of the first ever Moroccan artists to reach an international audience.
Can you tell me more about the proceeds raised by the event?
We wanted to dedicate this event to those tried but ultimately never made it on their journey from Africa (especially North Africa) to Europe. As such, we aim to use a percentage of the proceeds of ticket sales to support a chosen charity that represents the families of those who have tried but were unsuccessful in making the journey from Africa to Europe.
And if our readers want to attend this exciting event?
The concert starts at 7pm on 11th September and is being held at 229 Great Portland Street, London. Tickets are available online here.