Canada : Rebel Moon, a Marrakchi artist who wants to export the Moroccan culture (Interview)

Rebel Moon is a nickname for Badr the free soul in love with Moroccan music. Known for his cover «Lmarikan» that paid tribute to Houssein Slaoui, the Marrakchi native living in Canada has several plans for music and youths in Morocco. (Interview)

Badr, a Moroccan artist living in Canada./Ph. Facebook Badr Dean
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For Badr, being a musician living abroad is a privilege, it is a way of exploring the culture and the language of his mother country. The movie director, singer and producer is a rocker who is mostly driven to the local music with all its cheesy lyrics and authentic melodies. Spending more than 7 years in Montreal, Canada, Badr founded Rebel Moon a band that reflects his modern and urban personality. In an attempt to reach for the Moroccan audience, the Marrakchi musician did a cover of the notorious song «Lmarikan». Yabiladi had the chance to interview Badr and discover all his plans for youths here in Morocco, his love for cinema and the message behind his music. 

Tell us more about yourself ? 

I am a Moroccan musician living in Montreal, I was born and raised in Marrakech and I moved later in 2010 to Canada to study cinema. I got enchanted by the beauty of music during a trip to Imsswan back home. I saw some Australian tourists playing guitar and singing a Bill Harper song and it inspired me right away. Once here in Canada discovering North American music, I founded a band that I named «Rebel Moon» trying to mix Moroccan and African music with Rock. I am trying to write, compose and produce something different that would bring Moroccan cheesy lyrics and the perfect melody of the North. 

What about your music ? 

Beside the band, I am working on a new song and I collaborate with other musicians such as La Bronze. I also did a cover on Houssein Slaoui's song «Lmarikan» which got really famous back home. With my music, I am always attempting to export my culture and help people grasp the beauty of our language and melodies even if it's hard for them to understand it at first glance. I try to do mostly all my songs by myself, writing the lyrics, producing along with playing multiple instruments.

How does it feel being a Moroccan artist in Canada ?

It is quite hard to succeed in this country, especially for a Moroccan artist living in Montreal. They are very protective and conservative when it comes to the language, namely French. I did not fit in at the beginning because I refused to change my vision and my artistic direction. However, things are changing now and people here are welcoming foreigners, especially those who work hard . All in all, this country is a good place where one can learn and produce but not sell. You have to work three times harder than a Canadian to be able to make it. 

But I am still writing songs in English and Darija and that is why I decided to sing «Lmarikan» because I knew it would reach the hearts of Moroccans and make them want to discover my other musical projects. 

What can you bring to Morocco as a singer ? 

As a Moroccan singer living abroad, I feel like an ambassador always in the need of making others discover the culture and music of my country. When I sing in Darija people here like it even though it is hard for them to understand the language but I think that they get the melody. My mission here is to introduce the Moroccan features to the world and I think it is a privilege. 

What about playing music in Morocco ? 

I have a lot of contacts in Morocco because of the success following my cover «Lmarikan» and I have many projects in the back of my head for Morocco and the musical scene there. One of the recent ones which I am planning to work on is opening a cultural café in Marrakech my hometown. I picture it as a place where artists can play music, read books, watch movies and do artsy stuff. 

I think the city needs something like this, especially for teenagers and youths as the city focuses only on tourists and strangers and is not paying attention to what can be produced by these talented youngsters. 

Do you get in touch with the Moroccan community in Canada ?

Yes I do, but not very often as I prefer to meet locals, learn their culture and get in touch with Canadians. In some areas here in Montreal, Moroccans lock themselves without trying to get out of their cocoon and discover what these people have to offer. I don't want that. I want to learn new things and bring them back home. Some people here think that Moroccans are living in the middle ages which is not true and I would like to change this idea. 

What are your future projects ? 

I went to Cuba in March to direct a video clip for a Canadian artist, as I am working as a director too. Once there I fell in love with the beauty of the South American country and I filmed the video of my next song in Darija called «Lost Generation». The song is about young people who are struggling to express their feeling in a society where freedom is always fought back by tradition. I am working now on editing the video which will include also clips shot in Morocco. Meanwhile, I am collaborating with a Canadian singer of Moroccan descent. Beside music I am directing a short movie.

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