MOROCCO - Rock the Casbah

The Era of Prohibition is Over: the Musical and Cultural Revolution of a New Generation.
In Casablanca in 2003, 14 young metal musicians were sentenced to a year’s imprisonment for “the use of persuasive methods to undermine the Muslim faith”. They were accused of “intentionally leading the audience astray with songs that contravene public morality and encourage debauchery”.
It was not until March 2010 that a rock band made an appearance on national television for the first time in Moroccan history.
New generations remain attached to their roots and religion, but they travel more, are more aware, freer to follow their dreams and to play rock and roll just as others do all over the world.
Heavy metal, punk and rock are being accepted and have definitely paved the way for a new music scene that breaks with the past and shatters expectations.
This new energy and positivity is also the result of a drive towards freedom and integration in the last ten years fuelled by the current King Mohammed VI. Changes in various laws and social structures have had dramatic results; women’s rights are almost equal with men’s, assets are shared after divorce, a first wife must give permission for her husband to take a second, new streets and highways have been built, cities are cleaner, public transport is better, institutional and judicial corruption is being fought, state salaries are finally respectable (double or triple what they used to be) and, little by little, considerable steps are being taken to improve the lives of young people, including, for example, the organization of large free festivals throughout the country.
I went to Morocco to listen to the soundtrack to this new revolution.

Finisce l'era del proibizionismo: rivoluzione culturale e musicale di una nuova generazione musulmana.
A Casablanca nel 2003 14 musicisti metal vennero condannati a un anno di prigione per "l'uso di mezzi di persuasione finalizzati a minare la fede di un musulmano"; vennero accusati di "traviare intenzionalmente il pubblico con canzoni che vanno contro la pubblica morale e incitano alla dissolutezza".
E' solo nel marzo 2010 che, per la prima volta nella storia di questo Paese, una band rock viene passata su un canale della tv nazionale.
I giovani marocchini stanno uscendo dal totale "divieto musicale", stanno vivendo da pochi anni una completa rivoluzione di suoni e insieme di cultura. Questa energia, questa positività è merito anche della libertà e dell'integrazione che l'attuale re, Mohammed VI, ha regalato al paese nell'ultimo decennio, attraverso il cambiamento di diverse leggi e strutture sociali: la condivisione da parte della donna dei beni dopo il divorzio, l'introduzione del permesso da parte della prima moglie per poter sposare la seconda, la costruzione di nuove strade e collegamenti, città più pulite, mezzi di trasporto efficienti, lotta serrata alla corruzione nel sistema giudiziario e della sicurezza, stipendi statali finalmente degni (raddoppiati o triplicati rispetto al passato) e piccoli grandi sforzi verso i giovani come per esempio l'organizzazione di grandi festivals gratuiti in tutto il paese.
Sono andata in Marocco ad ascoltare il sottofondo musicale di questa nuova generazione.
In the last few years around fifteen free festivals have begun, some of which have drawn crowds of between 100,000 and 150,000. Sting, Santana, Elton John, Mika, BB King and Sepoltura graced the stages this year.
Z.W.M. - Rabat
"The real punk spirit is nihilistic and pissed off. Take our name for example. Z.W.M is an abbreviation of an Arabic saying that means RUN THE RISK OR DIE. Sometimes in life you have to lay everything on the line if you really want change.”
Z.W.M. - Rabat
"From looking at me you’d never take me for an American, Canadian or Scottish punk. I’m clearly a Moroccan punk, and proud to be one. I wear the half moon on my chest, I have my faith and I pray, and I don’t want to sever ties with my culture in any way."
Casablanca - metaller's car
Z.W.M. band - Rabat
"You have to have money to make music in Morocco. It costs the same here as it does in Europe so most of the time you’re forced to produce your music yourself!".
Casablanca - Hassan II Mosque
Vicious Vision band - Casablanca medina
Vicious Vision - Casablanca medina
Tangier - man passing by a women dress shop
Changes in various laws and social structures have had dramatic results; women’s rights are almost equal with men’s, assets are shared after divorce, a first wife must give permission for her husband to take a second.
Sakadoya - Khalid during the interview - Casablanca
“Slaves we once were and slaves we continue to be. The 8-track album tells of the transformation from the physical and undisguised state of ancient slavery to the invisible, modern slavery that drives consumerism.”
Mohamed from Z.W.M. - Rabat
‘Bin Laden is not dead’: “To remind Americans that, you know, the path towards peace is not the path we are going down now, and that Islamic communities should get more support than they do now".
Singer Ismael - Atmosphear - Rabat
Children playing in the streets of the medina
Lazy Wall - Tangier medina
"Religion is still tightly linked to many aspects of Moroccan life, but it no longer clashes with music. For example, at our concerts there are always girls wearing the nijab (the veil) with a little Iron Maiden t-shirt!"
Khalid singer of Sakadoya - Casablanca
Atmosphear band - Rabat
girls looking at the sunset in the surfers bay
Z.W.M. band - Rabat
Chilling out outside the mosque