Religious Stories in Algerian music


It is possible to find references to God, the Prophet Mohamed pbuh or faith in many Algerian songs. And almost all musical styles, from the most sacred to the most profane, display such references. This perhaps shows the place religion’s taken in our people’s daily life.

Nasheeds and mystic Sufi music could be flagged as sacred even though the first nasheeds I knew were more patriotic than religious. Algeria offers in Chaabi and Andalusian music two musical styles which could convey a religious message. The Madih is for example a famous sub-genre of the Chaabi music (be it in Arabic or Kabyle) and Algerians are used to hearing it in Ramadhan after the Iftar and on Fridays after the Jumua prayer.

Some Chaabi and Andalusian singers have also dedicated some songs to relate religious stories which are told in the Quran or the tradition. I propose to share some of them in this post.

Sidna Ibrahim elkhalil pbuh

This is the story of Prophets Ibrahim and his son Ismail‘s sacrifice. The song is famous in Algeria and many singers have performed it. The best version is of course Abdelkrim Dali’s (below) but you can click on the following names to listen to other versions: Kamel Bourdib, Nouri Koufi, Meriem Benallal, Dalila Mekader, Imene Sahir or Nacereddine Chaouli.

Sidna Yaaqub w Sidna Youcef pbut

This relates the story of Prophets Jacob and his son Joseph which is told in Quran. Chaabi Cheikh Abdelmalek Imansouren has it here.

Sidna Moussa pbuh

The story of Prophet Moses is related to Egypt’s Pharaoh. Abdelmalek Imansouren has a song telling the story we hear in the tradition about the apprentice sorcerer who denies the Pharaoh’s divinity. Part 1 and Part 2.

Kamel Bourdib (click) and Abderrahmane Elkoubbi (Part1 and Part 2) have songs on the Prophet’s death.

Sidna Mohamed pbuh

There is the story of Prophet Mohamed‘s death. Kamel Bourdib’s version can be found here. Boudjemaa El Ankis has a great version of it.

Boudjemaa El Ankis has also a song describing the grief of the Prophet’s daughter Fatima raa and sharing her perspective till her own death.

3 thoughts on “Religious Stories in Algerian music

  1. Thanks Loundja for your comment. I too got to know of Moussa’s death song only recently but “Qesset sidna Yaaqub w Youcef” is quite famous.

    Thanks Naila and welcome to the blog.

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