Imetlaa, a Prominent Amazigh Band


In 1996 the musicians behind the band Imetlaâ found their way to making professional music. As a joke they decided to participate at a talent hunt (“Plankenkoorts”) stage-fright, which they were asked for. All members of the band had made already music earlier on, but none of them professionally.

For this performance the band needed a name. Numerous brilliant names passed, all of them so brilliant that they turned out already to been chosen by other bands. A name where all members were charmed by, but also had doubts about, was the name Imetlaâ. For the members of the band this name stood for cosmopolitans, immigrants and world citizens, however for most of the Riffians the name had also a negative consonance. The name Imetlaâ stands, as it happens, in Tarifit (Riffian language) also for vagrants and homeless people. After long thinking this name has been kept nevertheless because the band could find no better name in Tamazight for “immigrants”. Another reason for this choice was simply that the name Imetlaâ fitted them perfectly. The band would be called Imetlaâ and the interpretation of the name would be left to the public.

After Imetlaâ won the talent hunt, the band got the impulse which was necessary to continue with making music professionally. A colored, boundless Amazigh-Dutch band was born and Imetlaâ has performed since then at several podia and events.


Imetlaâ has performed one or several times at the events mentioned below:
Freedom festivals: – Smakkelaarsveld Utrecht
Multicultural events:- wereldculturencentrum RASA Utrecht, concertgebouw Amsterdam, Corsotheater Den Haag, Volksbuurtmuseum Den Haag, Haschiba Den Haag, Rotown Rotterdam, Tropenmuseum Amsterdam, Bijbels Museum(museumnacht) Amsterdam, stadsschouwburg Musissacrum te Arnhem, Dunya-festival te Rotterdam, Stadsschouwburg Utrecht
Amazigh events: – Tamazgha-festival (Melkweg) Amsterdam
Masterclass Takfarinas from Kabylie (France) and Khalid Izri from Rif (Spain).
Done some brainstorming during this unique master class with Takfirinas, also called the prince of the kabylian Amazigh music. At these brainstorm sessions has come up the discussion which important elements are necessary for professional Amazigh bands, but the emphasis has been above all laid on how the Amazigh music can profile itself and how this genre can conquer itself a recognized spot in the existing, regular world music. With Khalid Izri Imetlaâ has sung number songs, in the form of a concert.

Imetlaâ has also performed at several other places which have not been mentioned here.

The big examples of Imetlaâ:

A musician, not only chosen by Imetlaâ as their big example, but also by other great singers and bands, is Idir. With his sensitive, well-known hit Avava Inouva, he brought international fame to Amazigh music in the seventy s. Moreover it was Idir Who gave authentic Amazigh music successfully a modern form and thereby gave it its place in world music.

Because of this Amazigh music was made accessible for a broader public.

Another musician whom the members of Imetlaâ have chosen as an example is Khalid Izri, seen en experienced by many as the most inspiring, young prominent Riffian singer. His style has a well made composition and arrangement and can be called an intellectual artistic expression.

Philosophy behind the band Imetlaâ:

Imetlaâ has arisen from a group of friends which knew at a young age what moved the Amazigh society. This involvement was accompanied by a strong conscience of the identity of the band members.

This last cannot be considered as something obvious for Imazighen because the Amazigh identity is and has been structurally denied. The recent years however not as much as the years before.

The passion of Imetlaâ to sing in the Tamazight arose because the Imazighen are hardly represented. Although the Moroccan population in the Netherlands exist for the major part of Imazighen, it seemed that the Imazighen as if they weren’t represented in any area, on musical, intellectual and culturally and/or artistic area. In the media the Imazighen were already entirely hushed up.

The musicians, with exception of Mohamad Yousif, of Palestinian source, originating all from the Rif mountains in Morocco where they have grown up with Izran*, the adjun and the sheer flute.


The lyrics of Imetlaâ are about social subjects such as homesickness, helpless, alienation, hope, (inaccessible) love, identity and the position of the woman.


The core of the music style of Imetlaâ is the traditional Amazighmusic from the Rif Mountains. With conservation of this core Imetlaâ let itself to be inspired by numerous world-music sounds and music styles. Thus the band produces both contagious music and swinging cross-over with Latin -, rock – and dance influences. The powerful ‘ drive ‘ of the traditional percussion instruments adjun and darabouka continue form the red wire.

Members Imetlaâ:

Mohamed Allati (acoustic guitar and vocal)
Mustapha Ahrouch (adjun and vocal)
Karim Haddouch (keyboard)
Mimoun Himmit (electric guitar)
Ahmed Oujnan (bass guitar)
Mohamad Yousif (saxophone, German flute and recorder)
Hassan Touh (drums)
Hatim Lekhlifi (percussion)

* Izran (plural): these songs are frequently created at site, in a poetic manner every Izri (single) tell its own tale. Izran concern frequently love, heroic deeds and everyday, social events.


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