The iconic Moroccan singer Hamid Zahir, 81, died Monday, December 10, after a long illness.
Rabat – Moroccan singer Hamid Zahir died today in Marrakech, his birthplace. Zahir had suffered a stroke and battled with renal insufficiency, spending 10 days in the intensive care unit, his family said in their announcement to Moroccan media.
The singer and lyricist was born to a Syrian mother and a father from El Kelaa des Sraghna in central Morocco and discovered his passion for music at a young age.
Zahir, whose birth name was Hamid Ben Taher, had worked as a butcher, but then started to play the “oud,” a lute-type instrument known as the “King of Instruments” in the Arab world.
Between 1947 and 1951, Zahir began performing in Marrakech’s famous square, Jemaa El Fna, where multiple forms of art flourish, from the long-lasting storytelling genre known as “Al Halqa,” to dancing and magic performances.
Zahir made his debut with songs “Awin Awin,” and “Lila a Sidi Amara” and reached the peak of his success in the early 1960s with songs like “Marrakech Sidi Koulou Fareh Lik” (All Marrakech is happy for your majesty) in honor of King Hassan II’s enthronement in 1961.
His songs “Lalla Fatima” and “Lalla Souad” are some of the best-known classical Moroccan songs.
Zahir met and became friends with legendary Egyptian singers Umm Kulthum and Abdel Halim Hafez. The artist also held several musical parties at the royal palace.