The Pace Report

Season 2011 Episode 06.18.11

The Pace Report: "Malika's Musical Journey" The Malika Zarra Interview

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Malika Zarra’s world music background has allowed her to make a splash here in the states. She mixes her Moroccan, French, and American musical influences on her debut disc ‘On The Ebony Road.’ But her latest Motema Records release ‘Berber Taxi’ further expands Malika’s musical pallet by writing some of the most intense and melodic music of her career. The Moroccan born and French raised musician has allowed all of her musical experiences culminate on both her discs as well as in her live performances. It was her first visit in the states during late 1990’s where she encountered an instructor who encouraged her to incorporate native rhythms from her country in her music. Upon moving to New York in 2004, Malika has performed or recorded with musicians like Gino Sitson, Somi, Will Calhoun, Lonnie Plaxico, and Kenny Davis to name a few. But she still focusing on her music and developing her style. She performs her music in Arabic, French, Berber, and English. While growing up in France, she studied music in Tours and Marseille and studied privately with Sarah Lazarus and Françoise Galais, something her parents were totally opposed to at the time. ‘Berber Taxi’ fuses both Berber and Gnawan rhythms with contemporary American jazz elements, something that was instilled in her by her parents as a child. Zarra began singing jazz standards in their original musical style but started to write and sing them in Arabic to rave reviews. The response internationally has been outstanding playing some prestigious festivals like the International Black Arts Festival in Dakar to the Jewish Museum in Berlin, Germany. Malika is currently on tour. To find out her upcoming concert dates, visit her website atmoreless

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