In a previous post I wrote about how musical taste could be connected to where a person comes from. And a few days ago, while I was looking for something on YouTube, I found a video of an old song from that nice post-October 88 period. The song’s title was “Alash ya babor“, sung by Cheb Aziz, and it dealt with emigration (ghorba), and the babor (boat) as the way to leave the country was used as a symbol.
I don’t know where the word “babor” comes from and why it is used to mean “boat” in Algeria. This link provides some insights; it apparently means “train” in Egypt and some “oil lamp” in Jordan. Though this is not the topic, it again gives an example of how the different Arabic dialects can differ.
Unwritten languages face many threats. They could of course disappear, and when they have people trying to save them, as it is the case with Kabyle, they still face the threat of losing all or part of the cultural patrimony they carry.
Some Kabyles nowadays speak in French or Algerian dardja, and many do speak Kabyle but mixed with so many Arabic or French words that you wouldn’t recognise it. Several Kabyle words are therefore not used any more.
But it is not just words that disappear. Poems and proverbs tend to be forgotten as well. A great-aunt of mine, aged 103, lost her 16 yo and 18 yo sons who died as martyrs in the early days of the Algerian Revolution. I think she never recovered from her loss and she used to sing many poems dedicated to them and to the war in general. Unfortunately nobody did learn or record them, and they will probably disappear the time she will leave us. Continue reading →
There are many works treating of music and its relationship with social class, age, gender, race and several other dimensions. Somebody’s musical tastes give some interesting hints on who they are. I don’t know if such studies have been carried in Algeria and I hope they have because, I am sure, there is a lot to learn about Algerians from the music they like.
I am not aware of which music today’s young Algerians like, and I reckon you’ll a lot of hip-hop and its likes. Amateurs must forgive my ignorance of these not-my-cup-of-tea styles. I will therefore write a few words on what my friends used to listen to during high school years and how their tastes related to their social and cultural conditions. Continue reading →
Like many Algerians, I discovered Kamel Messaoudi in 1991 on Bled Music program. He had released his new song, Echem3a or the candle. Mixing melancholy and optimism, Kamel Messaoudi became the favourite singer of many young Algerians, and helped get Chaabi music (through his “chansonette”) back on track.
12 years ago, aged only 37, Kamel (Allah yarahmou) died in a car accident. He left but he’s still remembered and his work remains alive. In a short time, he produced some of the best songs ever, probably aided by his collaboration with Yacine Ouabed (check out some of his poems here) and Cheikh Elhasnaoui‘s and Dahmane El Harrachi‘s influence. Continue reading →
This blog is not what one could call a “personal” blog and such a post shouldn’t (at least to me) be here. But it happens that this tune has been in my mind for over a week now and I think by sharing it here, it would stick in someone else’s mind and leave mine :)
It’s also an opportunity for me to introduce Souad Massi, a singer I like a lot, to those who haven’t heard of her (are there any?!) Continue reading →