27 Jan, 2020 @ 18:18
1 min read

Orphan rescued from despair in Morocco by Gibraltar charity speaks of his love for the Rock

6  Wadie Ismail 4

AN orphan who was brought up by a Gibraltar charity in Morocco has visited the Rock for the first time to perform as a musician. 

You might not have heard of Wadie Ismail.

But he has all of Gibraltar to thank for the charity of the people who gave him a hope in life some Moroccans will never have.

At the age of two orphaned Ismail was saved from a life on the streets and raised at the Cheshire Homes project in Tangier.

4  Wadie Ismail 2
SINGER: Wadie Ismail performs for Gibraltarians

“It was a childhood dream come true to visit Gibraltar,” Ismail told the Olive Press.

“When I was a two-year-old child I had no family and no money.

“I was then taken in to the Cheshire Home in Tangier, where I was raised by some amazing people.”

Growing up without parents is always tough but Ismail always remained positive and even learnt English.

His wish was to one day find a way to thank the people who gave him a chance to be the man he is today.

“I always saw the Rock of Gibraltar from my window and wondered if I would ever come here,” said Ismail.

“So it was a dream to finally visit this wonderful place.”

After performing in Gibraltar two weeks ago as part of a Moroccan cultural exchange, Ismail said he feels it is an honour to perform for what he called ‘the good people’ of the Rock.

He was part of a Tangier cultural exchange which included a performance by traditional group Dakka Marrachia at the GEMA Gallery.

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EXCHANGE: Dakka Marrachia at the GEMA


As a result of his cross-cultural influences, Ismail’s music is a fusion of traditional Moroccan music and pop.

“Music is all about how you feel its effects,” he said.

“The words are not so important if people can understand those feelings through the music.

“I try to share peace and love through my songs.”

Ismail is currently working on a musical project with two top Gibraltar musicians, Adrian Pisarello and Liam Byrne.

“We are now recording Wadie in Moroccan and Liam with his rap in English,” said rocker Pisarello.

“After that we will be doing the mixing and mastering so it is ready within two months.”

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TEAMWORK: Wadie with Liam and Adrian

Byrne added: “It’s very modern music with a Moroccan twist, to which I add a bit of hip-hop.

“We hope it will bring different cultures, age groups and musical tastes together in one song.”

The Cheshire Homes project was set up in Tangier in 1961, with Gibraltar setting up a charity to support it in 1985.

Since then, thousands of people have visited the home, which cares for some of the poorest and needy people in Tangier.

Gibraltar has also supported the Cheshire Homes project with donations of toys, domestic equipment and cash.

If you want to contribute to the project, you can find it on social media.

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