The Journey of A Riffian Immigrant Musician In Spain

Mohamed Ziani’s life is filled with the beautiful sounds of his Moroccan roots and the rhythms of the world. Growing up in the Rif of Morocco, music was always a part of his family. Growing up with six sisters, one brother, and parents who were both teachers, Mohamed was surrounded by creativity and expression.

Early beginning

Born in Al Hoceima in 1981, Ziani recalls “I started playing simple tunes on the piano when I was just four years old. My mom gave me a small children’s piano”. Ziani who now lives in Spain as reported by Moroccan website Yabiladi. This early introduction to music sparked a lifelong passion.

Inspired by the soulful melodies of American artist Donny Hathaway, Ziani wasn’t alone in his love for music. His older sister, Amal, was a skilled guitarist in the 1980s, sharing stages with local musicians. Their father, Mekki Ziani, added to the family’s musical heritage by playing the lute and composing songs for festivals.

Following his family’s musical footsteps, Mohamed picked up the guitar at age 12 and joined his first band, Sorif, a pop-rock group. Sorif released their debut album, “Awaren,” in 1998, recorded at a prestigious studio in Casablanca. Despite his success in the Moroccan music scene, Mohamed pursued his studies, studying Hispanic philology at universities in Rabat and Granada, Spain.

Music continued to be his passion as he collaborated with diverse artists in Spain, including the jazz fusion group Bybus. Their 2006 album, “Couscous Clan,” blended Moroccan, Spanish, Syrian, Chilean, and British influences. Mohamed’s love for music led him to explore sound engineering, expanding his musical horizons.

Promoting Amazigh Culture

Driven by a desire to promote Amazigh culture and address social issues, Mohamed’s music became a platform for storytelling. Collaborating with groups like Jammindose, he blended funk, soul, reggae, rock, and Amazigh influences, captivating audiences in Spain and beyond.

Throughout his career, Mohamed released several albums, including “Road to Rifland,” the first Rifi-language album in Spain’s National Library catalog. His talent earned him awards like the Espaciu Live award in 2009 and recognition on Spanish radio stations.

His latest release, Azzough (Searching), was premiered on Feb 14, 2024 on Youtube.

In 2012, Mohamed won second prize in the Spain Tweet Awards for “best musical group.” His appearances on shows like The Voice Spain introduced his music to a wider audience.

Despite his success, Mohamed recognizes the challenges faced by immigrant artists in Spain. He believes there’s more work to be done to support diverse voices in the country’s artistic scene.

As he continues to create music that resonates with audiences worldwide, Mohamed remains dedicated to sharing his heritage and experiences through his art. With each melody and lyric, he invites listeners on a journey of cultural discovery and reflection, celebrating the richness of human expression.

His latest release, Azzough (Searching), was premiered on Feb 14, 2024 on Youtube.