|Botbol on electric guitar. 1960s.|
Haim Botbol has affected my life in ways he could never imagine. It was his record I picked up four years ago and it was his voice, which opened up a world of North African music for me. This is why this day means so much to me. Today, June 18, 2013, Haim Botbol is being honored by a fascinating cross-section of Moroccans for his sixty plus years in the music business. The event, organized by his manager and producer Maurice Elbaz, will include a roundtable discussion with musicians, musicologists, and journalists on Botbol’s career and of course, a concert - stacked with talent: Maxime Karoutchi and his orchestra, Benomar Ziani, Marcel Botbol, Vanessa Paloma, and apparently a few surprises.
Haim Botbol, known as Botbol to fans, was born in Fez in the 1930s. Like other Jewish musicians who came of age during this period, the young Botbol soon joined a musical dynasty. His father, Cheikh Jacob Abitbol (another variant of the Botbol name), was a well respected violinist and vocalist who released a number of 45s in the 1950s. Marcel, his younger brother, continues to entertain in Tangier.
|Sampling of Botbol 45s c/o of Toukadime.|
This track - Ba Lahcen - is one of my favorites. The song became a serious hit for many including the likes of Hajja Hamdaouia. For anyone who has spent considerable time in Morocco or grew up speaking darija, you will love the song’s refrain.
Mazal tov, mabrouk, and félicitations to Cheikh Haim Botbol.