Patriots on Fire

The Algerian Mandole


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All lovers of Algerian Chaabi music must know the Algerian mandole for this instrument is a must in any decent Chaabi performance. It is also used in Kabyle Chaabi or traditional music and in Andalusian music as well.

The Algerian mandole was created in 1930 by a luthier named Bélido after an order by and following the recommendations of Algerian Chaabi master El Hadj Mhamed El Anka. Now it can be found in 4, 5 or 6-course versions. The picture shows a 4-course version held by Algerian luthier Rachid Chaffa who made mandoles for some famous Algerian artists such as Guerrouabi, Amar Ezzahi, Boudjemaa El Ankis, Takfarinas and Maatoub Lounas.

Here is a video featuring Yahia Chellali, another luthier.

Maestro Omar Ait-Vimoun who apparently lives in the US is a knowledgeable mandole player who also teaches (or taught) it at the Pacific Andaluse Conservatory of North African Music. You can listen to samples of his album “Assaru u Stekhvar” here.

Another famous mandole player is probably Mohamed Raouane who was a member of the Mediterraneo band (example of their work here) before he started a solo career dedicated to the mandole which he tries to promote everywhere in the world (cf. his interviews with DjazairNews, Ennahar and MBC).

You can find more details on the Algerian mandole on El gusto movie’s blog [Fr] or in this article [Ar].

Now enjoy (estghel in Algerian Dardja 🙂 ) the below performance by Mohamed Raouane.