AZA unites traditional Tamazight (Berber) music, indigenous to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, with the global influences of its diverse members. Evocative of Saharan-African blues, yet with an original style that truly defies categorization, AZA’s stirring performances feature deep, danceable rhythms, intricate string melodies, and soaring, soulful vocals. Visually dynamic and engaging performers, AZA has been inspiring international audiences for nearly seven years.
Founding members Fattah Abbou and Mohamed Aoualou are Berbers native to the High Atlas mountain region of Morocco, where they played and studied music for over twenty-five years, and are recognized as master musicians. They formed the sextet AZA in Santa Cruz, California, after moving to the United States eight years ago. The unique exchange between the High Atlas and Californian musicians has proved potent; AZA has produced two albums of original compositions, and performed at music festivals, clubs, and universities around the United States and abroad. In 2006, AZA was invited on its first of three annual summer tours to Morocco, to perform at music festivals throughout the country.
AZA’s endeavors are not limited to music. The Berbers, or “Imazighen” (preferred term), are the indigenous people of North Africa whose recorded history dates back to 3300 years ago. Fattah and Mohamed have always been part of the Amazigh movement and struggle to revive a culture that has been marginalized for centuries. Through music and cultural events, AZA continues to inspire awareness in people of all ages about the Amazigh culture, that it may be recognized and appreciated among the indigenous cultures of the world.