Houara (also known as T’houarit) by Bnat Houariyat, (The girls of Houara)


Bnat Houariyat, (The girls of Houara) presents a style of Houara (also known as T’houarit) reserved for women.


This video is a segment of Bnat Houariyat, (the girls of Houara), an all women’s folklore group that plays genres named Chaabi and Houara under the leadership of Khadija el Ouarzazia. This takes place in a womens gathering in an open building (still in construction) in Moulay Brahim, Morocco, a small rural town in the El Haouz region that is about 45 minutes from Marrakech, It known for its traditional moussems, festivals/celebrations during times of the Muslim prophets birthday or when there is a calling to saints where everyone gathers at a zawiya, a place of prayer. This piece is a song of the Houara tradition, a genre of music originating from the Souss region of Morocco in a town named Taroudant. Bnat Houariyat play their “Marrakech” style Houara, as they are based there.

From The Artist/Community : 

Khadija el Ouarzazia, the group leader in a green and white kaftan, traditional Moroccan dress, all the way on the left closest to the screen, leads a song of Houara or also known as T’houarit. They are playing a style of Houara reserved for women.The songs are call and response, as Khadija often does the lead call but sometimes bounces back and forth with other women as they take lead call sometimes. The Houara songs are passed on from communities and families and are about love, life, and daily quarrells of life. All the women musicians knows the lyrics of the music without rehearsal, but Khadija is the one who guides how accelerated the rhythms are, when there are musical breaks, and how the song ends. It is a structured improvisation given everyone knows the material for decades. 

Khadija is using zills or castenets to play on a large bendir, frame drum, as the other women are playing a taarija or in plural taarij , which are the tube like hand drums with natural skin. The large taarija that is played on the lap is called a dohdoh. All taarijas hold different rhythms and tones that create the buzz of the ⅞ polyrhythm of Houara. 


El Haouz, Morocco
Mon, Oct 1, 2018 to Wed, Oct 31, 2018
New York City