Ghiwanie fans lost an icon of Moroccan cultural heritage 24 years ago. On February 7, 1997, Laarbi Batma passed away. Fans have been sharing the hashtag #nasselghiwane on social media to commemorate his death. The Moroccan and Arab public still identify with Laarbi Batma’s songs, which reflect their daily causes and concerns, two decades after his death. Many of them shared “Mejdoub” El Ghiwane’s songs and interviews. Despite his disappearance, “Ba Arroub’s” unique voice, which touched people of all generations, continues to reverberate in the hearts of music fans.
Laarbi Batma is not like the other artists. He is still the public’s favorite and the founder of the Ghiwani movement. In 1986, he was described as a “rhythm hunter” by the French newspaper “L’Humanité.” Obsessed with his heritage and passionate about Moroccan music, he etched his and Nass El Ghiwane’s names into Moroccan culture’s history. His beautiful poems and melodies have left an indelible mark on subsequent generations.
Laarbi Batma’s mother was an important figure in his life. She influenced him with a number of well-known songs. Laarbi was known for his haunting voice as well as his abilities as a Zajal actor and poet (poetry in dialect Arabic). Laarbi Batma’s prowess on the stage of Casablanca’s old Municipal Theater, which he shared with playwright Tayeb Saddiki, is remembered by generations who have lived with him. In addition to his crucial role in “Nass El Ghiwane,”group Larbi Batma has written unpublished novels and screenplays, including the film “Janb Al-Bir” and the plays “Lahbal fi Al Kouchina,” “Hajouj et Majouj,” “36,” and others, as well as two novels, “Khnata” and “Rihla ila Achark,” and his autobiography in two (Suffering).
Saïd Mouhafid, an artist, recently released the second installment of his book “When I flew in the sky of Nass El Ghiwane.” This book, written in Arabic, takes us behind the scenes of Ghiwanies’ evenings and trips with the group.
Saïd Mouhafid recalls unique moments, many of which have never been recorded before. The author transports us to Nass El Ghiwane’s world through the eyes of a young lover. It isn’t restricted to the social context in which the mythical group arose. We can sense a true fan and friend’s love as he recounts his conversations with Omar Sad, Larbi Batma… We can only imagine several aspects of Ghiwanie’s life because the details are so vivid in this book.