The Iconic Andalusian Music Artist Mohamed Tazi Cherti Dies

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Mohamed Tazi Cherti Andalusian Musician, Morocco
Mohamed Tazi Cherti Andalusian Musician, Morocco

The Iconic Andalusian Music Artist Mohamed Tazi Cherti Dies

The iconic musician Mohamed Tazi Cherti, referred to as Massano, and considered one of the pioneers of Andalusian music in Morocco. died on Monday, December 28, 2020.  Cherti passed away at the age of 100 years old, in his  home town of Fez, after a long battle with illness.  The news of his passing was announced by, Al Baat, the Association of Andalusian music based in Fez.

The late artist, a leader of Andalusian classical music in the Maghreb, was adored by many Moroccans and also those within the larger Mediterranean region; the cultural and spiritual home of Andalusian civilization.

The classical music of Andalusia reached North Africa through centuries of cultural exchange, the Almohad dynasty and then the Marinid dynasty being present both in Al-Andalus and in Morocco and most of North Africa. Mass resettlements of Muslim and Sephardi Jews from Cordoba, Sevilla, Valencia and Granada, fleeing the Reconquista, further expanded the reach of Andalusian music.
The musical and poetic traditions of those who fled have been preserved in Morocco and other Maghreb countries. Andalusian classical music orchestras are spread across Morocco, including the cities of  Fes, Tetouan, Chefchaouen, Tangier, Meknes, Rabat, and Casablanca.

Cherti came from a family who was passionate about the art of “Samaa” and “Tarab al ala”, Moroccan music closely associated with Andalusian classical music. He was part of the generation of the late Ahmed Loukili and Abdelkrim Rais and was a pupil of the well-known Mohammed El-Mitri and Mohamed Al-Brihi.

The talented artist was a specialist in Rabab’s instrument, an ancestor of the violin. Tazi Cherti taught at the Dar Adivyel Music Conservatory in Fez. He was also the conductor of the Mohammed El-Mitri Orchestra for eleven years, named after one of his sheikhs (religious or spiritual guide). The group has recorded many Mizanes of Andalusian music.

A tribute was paid at the tenth meeting of Andalusian music enthusiasts in Tangier in 2019 and the Andalusia Music Festival in Fez in 1998 to the now late Mohamed Tazi Cherti.

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