Ya Babor!


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.

So back to the topic. I decided to look for other songs where “babor” was mentioned, and as I’ve been lucky in my research I thought why not share some of the results here. I believe most of this blog’s readers know that I do not like Rai music, but most of the songs I found fall under this ugly category and the singers are all called Cheb flane or feltane.

Here is my selection.

I know some of the above, and many of those I didn’t select, are lame but there is something interesting about them. The first two songs express the feelings of those who left the country and regret it. Those who want to leave the country at any cost, even as harraga, have their opinion voiced by songs three and four. Shouldn’t they have used flouka instead of babor?

The last song is… like any other Rabah Dariassa’s song. Unique🙂

Before I publish this post, and to make it less useless, it’s worth adding that “Babor” is also the name of a mountainous chain in the Little Kabylie region. It is also part of the name of Fellag‘s one-man show, “Babor l’Australie” which you can watch here and which was released in 1992 at a time when Australia became the new Eldorado for young Algerians who were exchanged against some Australian wallabies sheep. Finally, “Babor” is also in “Babor ghraq“, Slimane Benaissa‘s masterpiece and from which this excerpt had been taken. The boat that has sunk is obviously a metaphor for Algeria…

Here is Cheb Aziz’s song which sounds better to my ears.

7 thoughts on “Ya Babor!

  1. I do not know if it’s related to the term used in the maritime domain “Bâbord” which means the left side of a ship, but the question we have been asked by a French there are 3 or 4 years, during an infamous song “Ya el babor ya mon amour” (zidha fe lista) I do not know the name of the poet!
    I remember very well the Aziz’s “tube”, at the time I was too young to understand what is between the words. I did not know Chaab 3aziz, but I knew very well his “Death”. Not far from our home, one morning, a strange silence reigns in our neighborhood. Everyone knows something, but nobody wants to be the first to break the silence. Chab Aziz was slaughtered.

    • I chose to not select Taliani’s “ya babor ya mon amor” when I found it on Youtube. I was close to “nhat rassi ferraya” after a few seconds and didn’t want you guys to experience the same thing.

      As to cheb Aziz, he was unfortunately not the first nor was he the last. Let’s pray that period is behind us… for ever.

  2. En remerciant pour le précieux lien de Babor ghraq, j’élève une protestation énérgique contre l’absence de ma chanteuse préférée, cheikha al jennia, al haqania bent saida. Je suis obligé de complèter sur le thème du Babor

    Hadi fi khater Neo ou hbibtou Trinity, fi khater l’oracle ou morphiouss makra f’Mr Smith; fi khater lmnarvi ou algerianna li harbat ou khalatna.

      • Cheikha remitti et Cheikha el Jennia sont des candidates légitimes pour votre liste de “noteworthy algerians”. Le genre musical qu’elles chantent est une sorte de blues algérien, ancêtre de la forme commerciale qu’il a pris plus tard, le rai, et qui a, qu’on l’apprécie ou non, franchi les frontières.
        Je n’ai jamais mis les pieds dans les bas-fonds de l’ouest dans lesquels ce genre est né mais je l’ai apprécié au cours du service militaire au contact des gens de l’ouest qui l’écoutent (même si je n’aime pas trop le rai trop commercial que je trouve dépourvu de sens et d’émotions). Si on entend Edith piaf passer sur la chaîne 3, on ne s’etonne ni on ne trouve cela anormal. Elle est pourtant une fille des bas-fonds dont le cri de douleur et de révolte a donné cette force à son expression musicale. Les deux chanteuses ci-dessus expriment aussi des sentiments vrais avec des mots vrais, quelquefois crus mais pas toujours. Il ne m’étonne que la portée de leur musique répétitive et lente, exprimée avec une superbe voix volontairement caverneuse soit universelle.

        • Mais c’est un plaidoyer Chatnoir!
          J’avoue avoir decouvert le nom et la voix de Remitti l’annee ou elle s’etait mise a cueillir des fleurs. Je n’ai pas eu envie d’en savoir plus. Eldjennia, par contre, je connaissais bien son nom mais jamais vu sa tete ni entendu sa voix.
          Et puis je n’apprecie pas en general la crudite, ni dans la chanson ni dans le cinema ni dans la litterature.
          Bref, chacun ses gouts et ses preferences.

          Pour “Noteworthy Algerians”, algerianna me disait qu’il serait bien de feminiser un peu plus la liste. Peut-etre reviendra-t-elle pour les y ajouter. Ou si t’es motive, le blog est ouvert a toute contribution🙂

    • Merci Chatnoir 3la etebriha liya we lejma3a ( chkoun Triniti ?). Bien que je sois assez surpris des gouts musicaaux de certains…je ne duscute pas🙂.
      El Jenniya el haqaniya ! il devrait y avoir une copie chinoise alors ? Ahhh la contrefaçon makhalat walou, même lejnoun …Ahafidh !

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