Biography of Sawt el Atlas in Morocco


I like this artist in Morocco... ;)

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Sawt el Atlas

Second Generation Raï

Although raï originated in Algeria, the new second generation of musicians who are producing some really good raï nowadays come from other parts of North Africa, mainly Egypt and Morocco. This new brand of raï, drawing from the best of those who have gone before and adding new ideas and influences, has an excellent sound. This is where Sawt el Atlas comes in, for their music is amazing and epitomizes the new raï perfectly.
A fairly recent ten-member raï band, Sawt el Atlas is based in Paris; its main members are the three Mirghani brothers and the three El Habchi brothers, all of whom are immigrants from Morocco. Sawt el Atlas is fronted by two singers, cute young things :p named Kamel El Habchi and Mounir Mirghani. Kamel's tenor is smooth like Cheb Mami's, but with a deeper tone to it; Mounir's tenor is more rough/husky, kind of like a young Khaled. The songs Sawt el Atlas performs are written by both sets of brothers, although the El Habchis seem to do a considerable bit more of the composing and arranging than the Mirghanis (this is pure conjecture on my part). Though they're based in Paris, the group traveled to Cairo to record parts of Donia as Cairo has a large number of talented musicians who play traditional instruments.

Why Sawt el Atlas ?

What makes Sawl el Atlas such a great group is that they embody the best of artists like Cheb Mami and Khaled and build further on the strengths of such musicians. Sawt el Atlas's music is consistently catchy, fun, varied, danceable, and modern, and it manages to stay true to its North African roots. Granted, neither Kamel's singing nor Mounir's can equal the amazing vocal technique of Cheb Mami or the rich, many-layered quality of Khaled's voice, but then again, few can. Kamel and Mounir are wonderful musicians in their own right, and their talents in combination with that of their brothers and the rest of the Sawt el Atlas group makes for a stunning, compelling mix of sound.

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