Daba means ‘Now’ in Moroccan. Giving this title to her third album is, for Oum, all about linking yesterday’s experience to the one determined by the present moment. In this ‘now’, the singer, having achieved a certain artistic maturity, is able to mix traditional Arab and Sahraoui elements with discreet borrowings from more contemporary aesthetics – soul, jazz and electronic trance.
Originally from Casablanca, Oum El Ghaït Ben Essahraoui seemed destined to become an architect but then decided to embrace a career in music. She quickly drew the attention of the media, who identified her with the Nayda, a movement of young Moroccans attracted by more urban sounds. She began to write in darija, the everyday dialect of Moroccan Arabic.
After Soul of Morocco in 2013 and Zarabi in 2015, with Daba, her third album, Oum reaches a new milestone. Entrusting the artistic direction to the Palestinian poetess, singer and oud player Kamilya Jubran, she went to Berlin with her musicians to make a record that was both atmospheric and danceable. For Oum, this dual aim reflects a sort of state of emergency, one that she describes as dynamic : to be together and share good times is all the more urgent now that the means of communication and transport tend to radically reshape one’s experience of the world and of the other.
The orchestration on Daba remains generally acoustic, but, for the first time, certain electronic sounds adorn the songs, as if to echo the more contemporary dilemmas reflected in her lyrics; the threat to Nature, the fate of migrants, the status of women, but also an exhortation to live fully in the present. With such themes, Oum positions herself as a Moroccan, an African and a woman of the world who is convinced that cultural barriers are less weighty than that which brings us together.