Finally an album that approaches the mythical “Tiwira N yigenna” is released. The singer, Mbarek Oulaarbi, with his group “Saghru”, has just released his first album, an Amazigh (Berber) decent music, entitled “Muha”, thanks to the efforts of the group and Mbarek Oulaarbi or Mba as nicknamed by his fans and his public. This album represents a beneficiation for the Amazigh art in general and for that of the South-East of Morocco in particular. It is the fruit of the intense years of the hard work of the group which began its artistic career in the framework of the cultural activities of the Amazigh Cultural Movement, and in the coordination with Ayt Ghighuch as well in the framework of the cultural associations of the area of the South-east of Morocco: Azemz Association, Tilelli association and others.
Mba, since the beginning, was taking an experience of a solo artist. We get to hear the voice of Mbarek Oulaarbi for the first time, a deep tender voice which reminds us of Jack Brell. He created his new sound and style with the help of his brother Khalid. After, he formed his actual group which he named after “Saghru”, which is a dedication to martyrdoms of the solid mass mountains of Saghru that witnessed the great and glorious battles between the Amazigh (Berbers) rebels and the French protectors with the assistance of betrayers of the Amazigh (Berbers) memory and History. Everyone wonders what inspired the album’s title “Muha”, a track from this album which refers to the Berber Man who succeeded to go up to the scale and rank of Moroccan society to reach high class of the other world in regions said to be “useful Morocco”. The album’s title in one hand is an ironic ode to the Berber personality suffering between membership in his/her Berber origins and his/her implication with strange high class guiding his/her life. On the other hand, “muha” refers, according to Mba, to the spiritual leader of the group, to the stormy identity of a voice that stands for Berber man suffering since his childhood till it has achieved high degree in the Moroccan society. Instead of being in touch with his origins, identity, culture, home land’s matters and affairs, “Muha” changed as “he has never dreamt to be very important as a minister”. “Muha” refers then to any Berber power .Wherever the 26 year old guitarist Mba sung, he reveals to his fans that his album will be titled “Muha”.
The Saghru group dropped their first album ‘Muha’ which came out in December 10Th, 2007. The new one militant themed album contains 6 new tracks written and performed by Mbarek Oulaarbi and his Group. Mbark is ready to show slow Berber music fans just how strong his hustle really is and how his style is easily characterized in a new album that promises different artistic directions with local finishing Berber touches. Since June 2007, Mba was preparing to release this album, yet the core of the album was rejected by many Studios with the cause that it was too provocative and that it treated very sensitive political issues. Besides, there were some other difficulties on his way that are common with any new voice in a certain domains. In September 2007, Mbarek once again pushed back the release date; the album again is planned for a December 2007 release. This release is considered to be the hottest and the mellowest of the artistic career of this new voice. It is definitely worth the wait. The fans of Mba’s style and his innocent voice already speculate the success of this group qualified to be Moroccan Oulahlou. Mbarek has always the rage with the words and knows how to express them.
Mbarek Oularbi and his group “Saghru” got together and did songs on their own way, a group with which he performed two years ago with his younger brother. He was influenced by many famous artists such as the golden eagle of Moroccan South-East Moha Mellal, the kabylien Algerian steady Idir, and the phenomena Oulahlou. This new young artist has already received a good response from his fans he met through cultural activities organized in the framework of Amazigh cultural movements in universities and colleges or during his concerts in many associations. His Fans consider that this album would solidify the group as one of the first artists of their generation and time. To the truly devoted, the emergence of the group of Saghru is like the return of the Jack Brell —long appreciated. The first minutes of listening to Mbarek’s music would remind you of the rhythm of the famous great Algerian artist, Oulahlou. Almost without exception the group hearkens back to the golden era of guitar music, urging the audience to imagine the Amazigh image sufferings under panarabes economic, social, linguistic planned marginalisation. The style of this artist calls for attention to more concentration on both the rhythm and images of the words that Mba excels to pronounce as if he is living in them. The style and words are inviting to long adventurous trips between North Africa’s historical pages which is a rewarding symbiosis and an intriguing introduction to Feedback. What is found in Feedback, musically and lyrically, is honesty and optimism prevailing over the whole legitimate noble cause of Berbers; issues carefully chosen to meet the demands of years accumulated in the artist’s milieu. Mba promised that his fans will never leave disappointed at his shows since he seeks by all means to share the subject in question with his public. He sings each word of his songs with his heart. More importantly, the revolution on the level of the words chosen is something associated with him and this is what characterizes his unique style.
Certainly, the group is correct in gazing into the past of Berbers who sacrificed a lot and got nothing but shame and betrayals of thieves of honor and dignity. He sings the lyrics of six tracks each of which is a slogan of Berbers’ sufferings or rights with the vibrant rhythm alike Jack brel‘s style, and getting close to Oulahlou’s. The audience would deliver a soulful finish at the end of each track, guaranteed to stand voiceless while listening to this new group. It will be the ideal companion for dreaming of being somewhere that is obviously better than where you are actually. His music is the sound of memories, of things that are familiar, but also of sounds for which “the present asks the past to bring back”. This is a long dream, free trip, with his guitar and deeply chosen words. We travel, in details of time like a documentary programmed. The assurance of arriving safe and sound on a gentle rhythm is promised. It carries us through peaceful sound capes, along the sensual; mountains of lands decorated by nature and destroyed by the strange Man that marginalized politically and economically these innocent lands. The atmosphere is warm and arising mood of willing to go on strikes to get one’s rights .We hear the guitar of Mbark and his harmonica with hope to play and visit with him images of the Berber man suffering on his lands North Africa , his daily life, hopes, dreams and nightmares.
“Gra-d ifassen” sounds like both a summary and the peak of his various musical adventures since it appeals for peaceful revolution to stand for Berbers’ rights. The words evoke the rupture with colonialism and betrayal, the loss of the control of a Berber’s life confronted with discoveries of his/her undesirable identity, his/her unbearable continuity, of a systematic marginalization, betrayal, the implication of Berber in the current image of Berbers, a large tear, then meeting again with the hope of starting a new life again together, a beautiful homogeneous album with words which deserve to be listened to with much attention. It’s sum up of the crisis seen by a poet, brilliant singer. The 6 titles which this opus composes are very energetic: Riru, Grat-d ifassen (All hands to the pump), Bienvenue étrangére! (Welcome foreign girl!), Ulac Smah’!(No pardon!) Muh’ a! Pieces or samples which summarizes the life of Man of North Africa in general and that of South-east of Morocco in particular.
This CD album “Muha” of Saghru group would have been at the disposal of the public the 10th of Dec, 2007 according to the declaration of the artist Mbarek Oularbi who contacted us in person to announce this piece of news. Berbers are invited to support the Amazigh (Berber) art since without the public, the artist dies with time. Thus the public is the heart of the artist.
Written by Omar Zanifi (Asif n Dades)
Edited by Hicham Boughaba