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Aza is a musical band that was founded in Santa Cruz, CA by two members: Fattah Abbou and Mohamed Aoualou. Both are from Morocco and currently live in Santa Cruz, CA. Theyíve played and studied music for over twenty years before moving to the USA seven years ago. Fattah and Mohamed are Berbers; and the Berbers or Imazighen (preferred term) are the indigenous people of North Africa whose history records date back to 3300 years ago. The bandís activities are not limited to music but also promoting the Amazigh Culture. Fattah and Mohamedís efforts have always been part of the Amazigh movement and struggle to revive a culture that has been marginalized for centuries. Our goal is to raise awareness about the Amazigh culture, that it may take its place in the network of various cultures of the world. Through its artistic activities AZA has been able to introduce the Amazigh culture to people of varying ages and arouse their curiosity to know more about it.

Fattah Abbou was born and raised in a small Moroccan village before moving to the city of Marrakech. He has played Tamazight and other traditional Moroccan music for over 23 years. He is proficient in many stringed instruments (banjo, oud, lotar, bouzouki, sentir, gimbri, mandolin, violin, and guitar), and an array of Moroccan percussion instruments. Fattah's passionate voice delivers the impact of AZA's powerful vocal section.

Mohamed Aoualou is from Ouarzazate, Morocco, and has been a singer and guitarist for 16 years. Before moving to the United States, he performed and recorded with the band Imdiazen (with Fattah), and with Mallal, a Berber poet. Mohamed is a prolific songwriter with a gripping vocal style that helps define the dynamic energy of AZA. He is skilled in both traditional Moroccan and modern Western music. spacer.gif (43 bytes)


Patrick Richey is a percussionist currently pursuing his masters in ethnomusicology from University of CA. Santa Cruz. He is well versed in world percussion including jazz, drum-set and especially the percussion of India. He performs regularly on tabla and various other percussion instruments. He is the recipient of several award grants in pursuit of musical excellence.

Kevin DiNoto has been studying and performing Afro-Caribbean, Brazilian, and American music for 15 years. A versatile musician, he currently performs on drum-set, percussion, and steel-pan with a number of Bay Area ensembles.

Joel Ford began his musical studies at the age of twelve on the clarinet. Currently an arranger and composer, he has studied and performed many forms of music -- from classical to jazz, funk, Afro-Cuban, and African. Joel's breathtaking solos on clarinet and various saxophones help drive the dense melodies within AZA's music.

Peter Novembre has been cultivating a unique bass sound for the past 15 years. Born and raised in New Jersey, Pete received a degree in Literature and Music Theory from Rutgers University in 1995. Over the years, he has performed and recorded with a multitude of different musical acts and has played nearly every musical style imagined while maintaining numerous recording credits to his name. Today he is an integral part of the sounds of AZA. 

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