Monday, July 04, 2005

Great Algerian-Moroccan-Jewish singer dies

Moroccan pop music lost one of its greatest stars last week when Salim Halali, 80, passed away in relative obscurity in Cannes.

Salim Halali (who was born in Algeria) belonged to the same generation as that other Jewish pop star, Sami al-Maghribi. Much of his life was spent at the 'Coq D'or' in Casablanca , a famous oriental music hall in the old Medina popular with visitors, where he nurtured a whole school of pop stars such as Hajja Hamdaouya, Omar Tantaoui and Latifa Amal.

In 1940 Salim Halali escaped deportation from his home in Paris to the Nazi concentration camps by order of the King of Morocco. The rector of the Paris Mosque, Kaddour Benghrabit, delivered him a certificate of conversion to Islam.

An energetic, dynamic and charming man, Halali was able to strike up a personal rapport with his audience, like Manitas de Plata. A Canadian journalist once noted that although his songs were nearly all Arab, they had a touch of the modernism which gave rise to flamenco. Read article (in French) in full.

6 comments:

Papouna said...

Salim Halali is not Moroccan, he is ALGERIAN!! He was born in Annaba (Algeria)of Berber Jewish Algerian parents. He may have sang few Moroccan songs but most of his music is Algerian. It amazes me when journalists spread falshoods like this!

Anonymous said...

thank you papouna! it angers me to say the least!

Said said...

Salim Halali is our singer and will stay forever such a great voice of us and it does not matter if he is of such religion or such origin, he is beyond all a voice of treasures and memories that he expressed all over the places where he lived. One place was Morocco, where Moroccans were Jews and Muslims living together and that will stay and be like that for us beyond all political considerations.

Listen to his rendition of great songs and compositions and you will be traveling with him beyond the rational of this passing life. We cheerish him and we were saddened by his departure but we stay with him beyond his time and ours.

Scotfella said...

you have got it wrong Salim Halali is not Moroccan, but Proud Jewish Algerian. you need to rectified your mistake.
Renaud

Anonymous said...

But he was saved by Moroccans and after the war he spend a lot of his life in Morocco. That's why people makes that mistake. So don't hate and be proud that he has been saved by Moroccans. So you can say he has been adopted by the king of Morocco to save his life.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous,
First of all,he has not been saved by Moroccans as you seem to suggest but by Algerians.The Algerian Imam of the mosque of Paris,Si Kaddour Ben Ghabrit is just one of them.Read on the subject you will learn the whole story.It was the Algerian partisans,mainly composed of workers,who had led Salim Hallali(and a lot of Jews and jewish famillies,to the Paris Mosque for assistance and protection).
Second,he spent a mere ten years of his life in Morocco,much less than what he spent in Algeria and in France(primarily in algerian populated areas in his early immigrant years).
People who make that "mistake"(as you put it)do it on purpose for some dubious reasons(that you know as much as I do).
You're the one who should be proud that he has been saved,sheltered given protection and helped by Algerians.Si kaddour Ben Ghabrit,the algerian community in Paris and the free algerian partisans.