Moroccan world singer/composer/producer, MALIKA ZARRA is a multi-cultural shape-shifter, an enchantress who leaps effortlessly between seemingly unconnected languages and traditions, uniting them while utilizing each to further enrich the others. The exotically beautiful artist with the velvety, sinuous mezzo-soprano voice has demonstrated a rare ability to communicate both powerful and subtle ideas and feelings in French, English and Moroccan Arabic and is now a much-in-demand headliner at nightclubs and festivals the world over.
Malika was born in Southern Morocco, in a little village called Ouled Teima. Her father's family was originally from Smara, an oasis just off the Sahara, while her mother was a Berber from the High Atlas. During her early childhood, there was always music and dancing in the house and Malika sang almost from babyhood. After her family emigrated to a suburb of Paris, she found herself straddling two very different societies. I had to be French at school yet retain my Moroccan cultural heritage at home, she recalls, Like many immigrant children, I learned to switch quickly between the two. It was hard but brought me a lot of good things too.
Malika's debut solo album "On the Ebony Road" (2006), reveals a firm grasp of a richly diverse bouquet of references, fusing Orient and Occident, East and West, into a lively, sensual, fresh, and deeply poem of inclusion. Working with some of the finest international jazz players now active, she is in her element as bandleader and collaborator, at once creating a new vocabulary and intuitively going with the flow. She is well aware that in the USA, there is still another set of realities, every bit as complex as those she experienced in France, and that it's not always easy to get past fear and prejudice. However, she remains upbeat and confident of her ability to reach out with her voice and heart. We all need to get just a little bit interested in other cultures.