**Moroccan Sahrawi singer helped organize “Women of Desert” Taragalte festival for musicians and women of Mali**
YouTube, MACC, AFP, and MoroccoWorldNews, by Larbi Arbaoui (Taroudant, Morocco, Feb 12, 2013) — The Moroccan Sahrawi singer Oum announced the release of her new album and video entitled “Soul of Morocco” in France. (click on link to play video)
The budding Moroccan singing star with her five-piece soul band headlined the opening night of the Taragalte music festival last November, which was dedicated to and also featured Malian musicians then exiled because of the takeover of northern Mali by al-Qaeda-linked extremist groups.
Oum told AFP that the festival sent a message of solidarity to the musicians and the women of Mali. “It’s a chance to say that we support them, and the freedom of the arts, and the freedom just to be. It’s a message that is even stronger because it comes through the voices of women.”
Taragalte, in its fourth year at M’Hamid oasis at the edge of the Sahara in Morocco, has strong links with its Malian counterpart, the festival in Timbuktu — which is just a 50-day camel ride away, locals quip.
In her new album, “Soul of Morocco,” Oum incorporates a variety of music styles, including Hassany langauge, African beats, Jazz, Soul, Amazigh and Sufi music.
Produced by Lof Music and recorded at the famous Parisian studio Davout, the Moroccan singer with her bewitching voice will release her third album on April 28 in France.
“Morocco is a country where there has been a cultural, ethnic and linguistic intermingling that I want to show through this album,” Oum said. “Recorded in Paris, ‘Soul of Morocco’ is my third album, but it will be my first international album,” said the singer.
The album includes “Taragalte,” a tribute song to the city of M’hamid El Ghizlane, the rural commune in the province of Zagora in far south-east Morocco that hosted the Taragalte Festival of Music. Oum was the godmother of the fourth edition of Taragalte Festival of Music, which brought its rhythmic sounds to the desert on November 9-11, 2012. The theme for the festival was “Women of the desert” and it featured performers from Morocco, Mali, and Mauritania.
Oum El Ghait, which literally means “Mother of relief,” is the first name that Morocco’s Sahrawi nomads give to baby girls born on a rainy day, thinking it’s the luck of the new born that brings with it water and relief.