B'net Houariyat (Daughters of Houara) is comprised of five extraordinary women from the region of Marrakech in Morocco, who sing and dance to the rhythm of their drums, performing traditional music of Houara (the region between Taroudant and Tiznit), of the Hammada (plain of the Dra'a), together with Berber dances and urban styles like the Aitci (female seductive appeal) and the Chaabi, the popular style that originated Rai music.
The image of women as represented by the music of B'net Houariyat reflects the multiple facets of Islam on a daily life and the female condition, above and beyond the stereotypes, with emotion, humor, and energy. Among the themes of the songs of B'net Houariyat are the exaltation of love and beauty; the cry of the young woman that refuses the combined marriage with a rich old man; the derision of the man that has more wives and that works to maintain them; and, the ritual dance of the woman possessed by her spirits.
The group performed for the first time out of their traditional context in July 1995, in Milan, at the Festival Notti di San Lorenzo. Since then, B'net Houariyat has been invited to perform at numerous international festivals and in leading concert halls around the world.
In describing his encounter with B'net Houariyat, Elias Canetti, winner of the 1981 Nobel Prize for Literature, writes in Voices of Marrakech: A Record of a Visit that “their words come from far and remain suspended in the air longer than those of common mortals."
The women of B'net Houariyat consist of Zahi-a Bani (voice, ta`cuija, tubsil), Khadija Haliba (voice, dance, ta arija, bendir), Malika Rahmi (voice, dance, tara), Sai'da Madrani (voice, d'awd'a), and Halima Zeiter (voice, dance, naqqiis, triydr).
B'net Houariyat has released the following recordings: Poèmes d’Amour des Femmes du Sud Marocain (1994); Voix des femmes de Marrakech (1997); and, Voices of Marrakech (1997). B'net Houariyat also recorded with Peter Gabriel on Gabriel's Up (2002).