Dekka El Marrakchia – The Music of Marrakech

The dakka el Marrakchia is a cultural musical tradition unique to Morocco. Other spellings are daqqa, dekka or dekker. This word means “striking rhythm with hands” in Arabic due to a very particular sound produced by hands clapping kept straight on any flat surface with your fingers kept apart or together. As its name suggests, El Dakka Marrakchia originated in the imperial city of Marrackech and flourishes primarily during the religious festival of Achuri (celebrated on the tenth day of the Muslim New Year). The celebration of marriages is also an excellent opportunity to listen to the dakka el Marrakchia, where the atmosphere is vibrant and lively.

The dakka represents a kind of rhythmic applause perfectly accurate and mastered. It is a true manual prowess based on three phases of rhythm acceleration orchestrated by three major instruments: the “ta’rijat”, small terracotta wide-mouthed tambourines; the “tar”, a membrane instrument; and the “qarqaba crotala” (or karkaba), a rhythmic iron instrument that recalls the Spanish castanets. The troupe consists of many drummers who start off with songs referring to the saints of the city, evoking all the compliments they deserve. This first phase, broad and majestic, and led by the chief percussionist, recalls some of the dances of “Ahwash”.

The second phase (or median phase) is simple, moderate and repetitive. It is a prelude to the expected change of pace during the third and final phase of this dakka called “Afus” (which means “hand” in Berber). During this final stage, the artists of the dakka get carried away by the effects of the popular trumpet (or “nfîr”) and manage to increase further this atmosphere of communion, entertainment and mysticism that will no doubt charm you.

So, Morocco has an important musical heritage, which is as varied as its society is multicultural. If you want to satisfy your curiosity and to discover all Moroccan musical styles, I invite you to visit this country and enjoy its cultural richness first-hand. You will certainly enjoy your holidays and you will have moments full of pleasure and happiness.