UNESCO pursues development value in Moroccan music industry

Morocco, a cultural hub in North Africa, has a rich musical legacy encompassing many diverse styles and genres, and is home to many regionally renowned musical figures
Friday 11/12/2020
A Gnawa traditional group performs in the city of Essaouira on December 14, 2019, to celebrate the decision of adding the Gnawa culture to UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. (AFP)
A Gnawa traditional group performs in the city of Essaouira on December 14, 2019, to celebrate the decision of adding the Gnawa culture to UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. (AFP)

RABAT--A new project by UNESCO takes a unique approach to economic development in Morocco, focusing on the country’s burgeoning music industry as a gateway to job creation and sustainable growth.

The project, entitled “Music as a driving force for sustainable development in Morocco,” aims to improve the Moroccan music industry’s value chain through providing services to youth music enthusiasts and professionals. It is funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, together with the Moroccan Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.
 

Moroccan rapper Abdelkrim Bouhjir, known as Kouz1, performs at a rap concert as part of the Visa for Music festival in Rabat, Morocco. (AP)
Moroccan rapper Abdelkrim Bouhjir, known as Kouz1, performs at a rap concert as part of the Visa for Music festival in Rabat, Morocco. (AP)

The three-part initiative will introduce musical “awakening sessions” for dozens of Moroccan children in Tangier, Meknes and Inezgane; put together an online portal for Moroccan music professionals to improve networking opportunities; and provide recording sessions and in-residence coaching sessions for twelve select Moroccan bands. Musical groups of 2-5 members between the ages of 18-35 are encouraged to apply for the recording and coaching programme before the December 12 deadline.

Morocco, a cultural hub in North Africa, has a rich musical legacy encompassing many diverse styles and genres, and is home to many regionally renowned musical figures.
 

Visa For Music, based in Rabat Morocco, is one of the most important music festivals for musicians hailing from Africa and the Middle East. (visaformusic)
Visa For Music, based in Rabat Morocco, is one of the most important music festivals for musicians hailing from Africa and the Middle East. (visaformusic)

Each year, Morocco hosts the Visa For Music festival for Middle Eastern and African artists to showcase regional talent and connect musicians with dynamic professional opportunities. Last month, the Rabat-based festival drew less attention than usual as it was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which director Brahim el Mezned said he feared would cause some local artists to “fall under the ‘international radar'."