By the late 1970s and possibly even earlier, Morocco’s King Hassan II was listening to Raymonde El Bidaouia on vinyl. So enthralled with her records, he invited her to perform at the Royal Palace in Rabat in 1981. Raymonde was to perform together with the late, great Samy Elmaghribi. She and Samy knew each other well thanks to the Azoulay brothers. She wasn’t what Samy expected at first but she and her voice soon grew on him. He was certainly the legend but Raymonde was the rising star and soon they began touring the world together.
By the 1990s, after decades of making music, Raymonde launched her television and film career. Today, she continues to act and has since launched a Moroccan Arabic theater project in Israel. What I love about Raymonde is her voice and her swagger. Raymonde has chutzpah in the best way possible and she laughs in the face of shouma. When a reporter once asked Raymonde why she sings in Arabic and not in Hebrew, she said, “Could I be like Chava Alberstein? No, I am Raymonde.” You can feel all of this drive in her music.