Tag Archive for Algeria

CHEIKHA REMITTI – Grand Dame of Algeria’s school of hard knocks!

Screen shot 2011-01-23 at 19.45.13

Remitti is most emphatically still here, well past her eightieth birthday, sharp, defiant, halogenically lucid, still giving her audiences the proverbial cru-cut with her freight-train baritone holler and still raising the temperature with her shimmying shoulders and pulsating midriff. Moreover Remitti really does seem to have overtaken and outlived much of the younger generation that she originally spawned. Her brand new album ‘N’ta Goudami’, is creatively more ambitious and successful than 95% of the rai being recorded by singers one third her age. It seems like Remitti has trounced the rai youth at their own game.

Translating Touareg Poetry

Ousmane Tamikrest

I’ve been busy translating the lyrics for the forthcoming album by Tamikrest, the band from north eastern Mali lead by the talented Ousmane Ag Moussa. If you don’t know them already check out their existing album ‘Adagh’. One thing I always suspected but now know for sure is that Ousmane is a really excellent poet.…

KEL INEDAN – The Touareg blacksmiths

Touareg artisan in Assaghan Association workshops, Tamanrasset.  (c) Andy Morgan

This is an extract from a pamphlet / article / short book (fate will delete as applicable) that I’m writing about the Touareg blacksmith or artisan. It’s a complex subject and I’m approaching in my usual journalistic and non-academic way. This is bound to ruffle some scholarly feathers…an enjoyable sport in itself. I’m writing this…

MATOUB LOUNES – A lifetime dancing with death

Matoub Lounes

“Silence is death and yet if you speak you die.  If you keep quiet you die.  So then speak and die.” Tahar Djaout “I want to speak and I don’t want to die” Matoub Lounès A grave between an olive and a cherry tree Death finally caught up with him on the lonely bend of…

KHALED #2 – Freedom and pop

Khaled 2

A national treasure, who has always taken the trouble to stay out of big ‘P’ politics, Khaled has no problem flirting with power. He’s a good friend of the current Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and defends his friend’s decision to play loose with the constitution and seek a third term.

KHALED – The fame and the furies

PC 5043 No 10 ok

Khaled knows that kind of fame, not only in France, but also throughout North Africa, its diaspora and strange unlikely places like India, Brazil and Japan. After the release of his second to last album ‘Kenza’ in 2000, it seemed that fame was beginning to take its toll.

RACHID TAHA #2 – “I dreamed about my own nightmares”

Rachid Taha

Taha has long been recognised as a perceptive thinker and a courageous mental guerrillero, but what is really astounding is that he has always been fighting a war on two fronts. His stand against the racism and bigotry of his adoptive France, so neatly expressed in anthems like ‘Voilà Voilà’, or the corruption of western governments and war-mongerers, has already been widely hailed and documented.

RACHID TAHA – The Last Punk?

Damon Albarn and Rachid Taha, Africa Express Paris 2009

But where exactly is Rachid Taha today? With the success of ‘Voilà Voilà’, ‘Ya Rayah’, and his participation alongside fellow Khaled and Faudel in the epic ‘1-2-3 Soleil’ concert at the Bercy stadium in Paris, which yielded a million-selling live album, Rachid was definitely a big star in France in the 1990s. But he never bothered to capitalise on that status. Commercial strategies and speculations are just bore him frigid. When I ask Taha about the collapsing recorded music industry in France he just quips, “hang on, I’ll pass you my Financial Director and you can talk to him.” Ok, ‘nuff said.

INESS MEZEL – Beyond trance, beyond identity

Iness Mezel

It was one of those perfect moments, when passion burns up the concept, and Iness Mezel’s words begin to canter excitedly as she remembers it: “You arrive at the studio with all your baggage and paraphernalia and you lay them out and something just happens, beyond all expectations. Beyond trance. Beyond consciousness. And I love…