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Learning the secrets of Morocco through music and dance

In the 1942 film “Casablanca,” Humphrey Bogart played the character Rick Blaine, proprietor of an upscale nightclub and gambling den in Casablanca. The character had to choose between his love for a woman and helping her Czech Resistance leader husband escape the Vichy-controlled Moroccan city of Casablanca to continue his fight against the Nazis. “Casablanca” went on to win three Academy Awards and introduced millions of Americans to a part of the world that most had never heard of. The movie provided small glimpses into the rich cultural tapestry of the North African country of Morocco.

Morocco covers 172,410 square miles and while its capital is Rabat, the largest city is Casablanca. Morocco has a history of independence not shared by its neighbors. Its rich culture is a blend of Arab, Berber (indigenous African) and other African and European influences. Morocco’s music reflects the many cultural styles that have come to influence the country over thousands of years. Whether it is Europe to the north or the Arabic influences from the east or those influences from other African cultures, Moroccan music is hard to define. With a multitude of languages and dialects used in Moroccan culture, Moroccan music reflects the diversity of its people.

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