Arrouasse, Maurice (1932-2017)

By Avner Azoulay

Born in Tlemcen (Algeria) on July 31, 1932, in a brotherhood of ten children, Maurice Arrouasse comes from a modest but happy family. Social life went also well between the different religious communities in Algeria before its independance, until the year 1962, when young Maurice Arrouasse and his family are forced to go the port of Oran, to go into a ship (the « Le Ville Oran ») for France. The journey lasted 36 hours before the family arrived to Marseille. They travelled then to Paris by train, a trip that lasted between 11 and 12 hours at the time.

The beginning of Maurice Arrouasse’s new Parisian life was hard before settling financially and geographically. Soon, upon his arrival in Paris, Maurice Arrouasse is first hired as a welder engineer in the Saint Gobin company, and in 1976, he opens his first business of laundromat.

On the same year, for the occasion of his son’s bar-mitsva Serge, that he prepared himself, he starts a new business of caterer, at a time where kosher food wasn’t as widespread in Paris as today. He obtains his kosher certification in the beginning of the 1980’s, and also with the help of his friend and radio animator Maurice Azoulay, his entry in Radio Shalom, a young Jewish private radio created in Paris in 1981.
On this radio, he will host for around 30 years a program called « Orientissimo », which featured Judeo-Oriental music, and that offered the possibility to the auditors to dedicate live a song to their families or friends. With this show, Maurice Arrouasse built a warm atmosphere with all his listeners during these 30 years. He also received as guests the greatest musicians and singers of Oriental music.

Holder of an important collection of Oriental music, and concerned in preserving this precious heritage, Maurice Arrouasse deposited in 2015 at the European Institute for Jewish Music over 300 documents, mainly audio recordings, but also family pictures. This collection of Maurice Arrouasse is now available for consultation on the collections catalogue of the EIJM, or with an appointment.

Maurice Arrouasse passed away the 4th of October 2017, during the Tichri Jewish holidays, passing on to future generations a documentation that allows a better knowledge of Jewish music of North Africa and Middle-East.

Browse Maurice Arrouasse’s collection

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