The University of Iowa

‘Morocc’n Roll’ with Hoba Hoba Spirit on special WorldCanvass Studio

September 12th, 2014

See the ReCap of this show, featuring full audio

From noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, September 25, the popular Moroccan fusion group Hoba Hoba Spirit will share its music and artistic vision on a special edition of WorldCanvass at FilmScene. This WorldCanvass Studio program is produced in partnership with Hancher as part of a week-long Iowa City residency that accompanies the Friday, September 26, Hoba Hoba Spirit concert at CSPS (Legion Arts) in Cedar Rapids. 

Hoba Hoba Spirit calls its music “hayha.” It’s a blend of rock, reggae, and Gnawa (African Islamic spiritual songs) and the band sings in the Arabic dialect Darija, French, and English. Called “sharp, vibrant, and very nearly universal” by the Washington Post and counted among the 50 people who shape the culture of the Arab world (Huffington Post, 2012), Hoba Hoba Spirit is one of the Arab world’s most visible bands. This is not “world music,” says front man Reda Allali, “…it’s just the music of my world.”

hoba hoba spirit

Photo: Karim Tibari

Under the auspices of Center Stage, Hoba Hoba Spirit is traveling to multiple locations in the U.S. during the month of September, with engagements in Seattle, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, New York, Austin, and Iowa City/Cedar Rapids. WorldCanvass Studio host Joan Kjaer will interview members of the band about their music and the ways in which ‘hayha’ or Morocc’n Roll influences—and is influenced by—North African youth culture and political and social dynamics in the Arab world. 

You’re invited to attend the free, live program at Iowa City’s non-profit cinema arts organization FilmScene, 118 East College Street.  For information about the September 26 Hancher concert at CSPS, visit

We encourage you to use #worldcanvass when posting on social media before, during, and after the show, or mention @uiowaIP on Twitter.

WorldCanvass Studio is a shorter, mobile version of the monthly WorldCanvass series. WorldCanvass programs are recorded before a live audience for later broadcast on UITV, YouTube, iTunes, and the Public Radio Exchange. Podcasts can be downloaded for free from iTunes and past programs are available through IP’s website at

WorldCanvass is a production of UI International Programs in collaboration with FilmScene and University of Iowa Video Services. For more information on WorldCanvass, contact Joan Kjaer at or visit