Sarah and Ismael: The Duo Blending Jazz and Amazigh Rhythms

Morocco, a land rich in cultural diversity, boasts a vibrant music scene that reflects a blend of traditional and contemporary influences. Among the diverse array of Moroccan musical genres, Amazigh music holds a special place, celebrating the indigenous Amazigh heritage.

In this article, we delve into the mesmerizing musical world of Sarah and Ismael, two talented artists who have captivated audiences with their soul-stirring melodies sung in Tamazight languages.

Amazigh music has been an integral part of Morocco’s cultural tapestry for centuries. Rooted in the deep history and traditions of the native people, this enchanting genre has been passed down through generations, preserving the rich oral heritage of the Amazigh community. With its distinct rhythms, poetic lyrics, and heartfelt melodies, Amazigh music embodies the soul of the Amazigh culture throughout the Maghreb.

We are greatly inspired by the Amazigh heritage, and our music is a blend of soul, jazz, and rhythms of Tamazgha.

Sarah and Ismael

Among the contemporary emerging young musicians of Amazigh music, Sarah and Ismael stand out for their remarkable talent and dedication to preserving their cultural roots. Hailing from Morocco, this duo has been enchanting audiences with their evocative music. Sarah and Ismael hail from the North and South of Morocco; and are based between Agadir and Shanghai.

With Sarah’s voice and Ismael’s guitar artistry, they are re-inventing Amazigh music with contemporary and modern style mixing Soul, Jazz and local music genres. Sarah brings a melodious voice and profound emotional depth, and often plays other percussions as well like the bendir (a traditional drum). Ismael, a gifted musician, provides the perfect accompaniment with his mastery of the Guitar. Together, their synergy creates a musical experience that is both mesmerizing and unique.

Sarah and Ismael’s commitment to preserving Amazigh culture goes beyond their performances. Through their music, they shed light on the Amazigh language, customs, and traditions, ensuring that the younger generations embrace their cultural heritage. Their lyrics, often imbued with poignant narratives and societal reflections, serve as a vehicle for storytelling and the expression of collective experiences.

The music of Sarah and Ismael resonates deeply with listeners, transcending language barriers and cultural differences. Their music effortlessly blends the traditional sounds of Amazigh music with contemporary elements, creating a unique fusion that appeals to a wide audience. Their songs explore a range of themes, from love and longing to social issues and the preservation of Amazigh identity, showcasing the versatility of Tamazight music.

Sarah and Ismael’s remarkable talent has not gone unnoticed. Their music has been celebrated for its authenticity, emotional resonance, and contribution to the promotion of modern Amazigh culture. When asked by Maghreb Magazine for what inspires their music, they responded: “We are greatly inspired by the Amazigh heritage, and our music is a blend of soul, jazz, and rhythms of Tamazgha.”

Singing in various Tamazight dialects is not an easy task since there is little use of the standardized language. When asked about how they overcome the gap between the various spoken forms of Tamazight, the duo responded: “That is the real challenge to standardize Tamazight and make it accessible and uniform, even though the language varies from region to region. We think the differences actually enhance its lexical diversity.”

The duo added: “Through our playlist: ‘Trip to Tamazgha’, we have explored, experimented and shared covers and re-arranged old Amazigh Songs from different Amazigh groups: Tachelhit, Tarifit, Tamazight of the Atlas, Kabyle, Tachaouit,… We have enjoyed every style and learned a lot from all the artists we covered. It is truly diverse and rich.”

We think the differences of Tamazight actually enhance its lexical diversity.

Sarah and Ismael

Sarah and Ismael’s popularity is growing, keeping them active in enriching their repertoire. The duo just released a new single in March 2023 which was titled Amzruy. “Our single Amzruy discusses the Topic of identity. It’s a call to learn about ourselves, our ancestors, their lifestyles, the culture to get a sense of identity and to connect with others.”, they expressed to Maghreb Magazine.

Sarah and Ismael are also actively making content on social media, sharing videos related to teaching Tamazight, music and culture.