Female rappers push limits in conservative Morocco

Wed May 20, 2009 6:38pm EDT
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By Tom Pfeiffer

RABAT (Reuters Life!) - Morocco's first female rap group Tigresse Flow defied a conservative society to carve out a place in the kingdom's flourishing hip-hop scene and now have their eyes on a first album, a video and a foreign tour.

Miss ND, Soltana and Miss Wiba trained as a receptionist, air hostess and criminal lawyer but a fruitless job search led them to try a career in music.

They formed in 2005 but only got their big break last year with an award at the Mawazine music festival in the Moroccan capital Rabat and another at rap gathering "Ouf de Bled."

"It wasn't easy at the start. In Europe, a girl just gets up on stage and sings. Here it's a bit different," Soltana, 23, told Reuters. "There were music managers who promised us help and support but did nothing."

Tigresse Flow have performed at the Boulevard of Young Musicians in Casablanca, on radio and television. Their two hits so far are "Maghribiya" (Moroccan Woman) and "Kifach" (How?).

As a prize for winning last year's Mawazine award, the festival organizers have offered to pay for the group's first album and video. Tigresse Flow hope one day to perform abroad.

Mawazine is one of a growing number of well-funded music festivals aimed at promoting an image of tolerance and modernity in the Muslim north African kingdom.

This year's edition (www.festivalmawazine.ma), which runs to Saturday, features Kylie Minogue, Ennio Morricone, Khaled and Alicia Keys and has drawn tens of thousands of spectators.   Continued...