Alessandra Ciucci

Department of Music, Columbia University

Nass el Ghiwane

My project examines how the songs Nass el Ghiwane, the most influential popular music group in Morocco, became the voice of those who were silenced or disappeared during an era of violence, repression, and socio-political turmoil that came to be known as “The Years of Lead.” Working at the intersection of ethnomusicology, poetics, Moroccan colonial and postcolonial history, social movements and the arts (including their industries), I argue that an in-depth analysis of selected songs by Nass el Ghiwane—giving equal attention to the sonic and the poetic—yields new insights into a foundational stage of contemporary Moroccan history: the transition from the French Protectorate to the modern nation, the Kingdom of Morocco, through sound.

Alessandra Ciucci is an ethnomusicologist and Assistant Professor of Music at Columbia University. Her research interests include the music of Morocco, the Maghreb, the Mediterranean, gender and sexuality, sung poetry, popular music of the Arab world, and music and migration. She has published widely on these and other subjects and has won numerous awards including the 2018 Rome Prize in Modern Italian Studies at the American Academy.

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