lundi 8 décembre 2008

Algeria, my love II....[ Riders of the Aurès ]

Théodore Monod (1902-2000), Déserts

If you have a chance to travel to the Maghreb one day (and should), Two of the "must see" places are of course, The Rif mountains in Morocco & The Aurès Mountains in Algeria. If the Riff is well known (for his haschich producer & Rides) as his algerian cousin, both are full of history, stories & culture.


To illustrate this beautifull part of Algeria, i chose a song from the last CD of Accords Croisés collections: Cavaliers de L'Aurès (Riders of the Aurès). As you maybe know, Aurès is a part of Algeria where Horses & Riders have an important place & history. Everybody knows that most of the beautifull & competitiv horses are called "Pur Blood" and comes from Maghreb. Accords Croisés edition wanted to show how much Horses & Mens share culture in the Aurès Mountains...
Instead of keep on writing bad english (sorry Adri...)
I prefer to let Bachir Hadjadj explains some things about Riders, Kabylia & the traditional music of the Aurès.

" The Shawiya Berbers live in a rugged mountainous territory in north-east Algeria, between Jebel Boutaleb, Tebessa, Souk Ahras and Telergma. Their character is a reflection of the austerity and majesty of the Aurès Massif.

The Shawiya have always led a pastoral life. To this day they breed horses that are noted for their exceptional agility, stamina and resistance. In the past the young men of the Shawiya people spent much of their time on horseback, herding the flocks to their pastures. These mounted shepherds were known as “Rayan el kheil” ; they were the Horsemen of the Aurès.

These brave young riders, who were always ready to defend their people against possible agressors, were the dream of young Shawiya women.

During the season of festivities that follows the harvest, the air is cooler and nature and man can breathe once more. It is then that the gasba is heard, its notes rising into the clear, starry night. The sensual sound of this long oblique flute – a type of Nây – captures the hearts of the girls and causes their mothers to sigh.

The singer’s bewitching voice evokes passing time, lost loves, footprints in the dew left by a departing lover. The silver bangles that the girls wear on their ankles jingle to the throbbing beat of their bender.

At weddings, the women, forming a cortège, sing to accompany the bride to her new home. Meanwhile the horsemen on their magnificient steeds, chestnut, bay or grey, raise the dust in the arena as they try to outdo each other in dexterity and daring. Sometimes a young woman leaves the cortège and moving forward tosses her scarf into the arena: her heart is free and she challenges the men. With their bodies leaning close to their spirited mounts, the riders gather speed; there is a furious charge and a sound of metal as stirrups clash; only one horseman can seize the scarf. As he does so the women ululate in celebration; shots are fired into the air…

Who better than Houria Aïchi, with her warm, pure voice, could evoke with such intensity the dazzling jousts of the “Rayan el kheil”, the proud horsemen of the Aurès? "

Bachir Hadjadj


Houria Aïchi was born in the center of the Aurès, and she's still here to bring the musical algerian history to people all over the world. Patiently, she collects the last vestiges in the forgotten villages and interprets them by trying to remain so faithful as possible for the tradition.
Of its native mountain, Houria Aïchi kept a shape of sourness. And it is doubtless this purified aspect which seduced Bernardo Bertollucci to accompany a passage of its film " A tea in Sahara ". The first evidence for Houria Aïchi was to go towards the music. She is endowed with a very beautiful voice, powerful, at once pure and guttural impression especially due to her phrasing, both in Arabic and chaoui.
And then she arises from a family - and of a culture where the music is omnipresent. " To sing fact left the life, the education of the girls, it flows in source. To learn the directory is obvious " she explains in the interviews today. From the age of 7 years, Houria escorted her grandmother who was a renowned azriate. Sort of troubadours in the feminine, azriates went of feast to feast, agents of vocal techniques and directories which could so be passed on through valleys and generations.

Listenning to Houria Aïchi is like listenning to 300 years of history, tradition & feelings...

The song i chose from her last CD, is called The Grey Mare and i translate words for ya

The Grey Mare

The grey mare

With two witnesses appeared,

Mounted by handsome Allaou:

Prematurely his hair

Has turned white.

O God, How my soul grieves !

Often my nights are sleepless,

I cannot find slumber.

You are the cause, O ùy dear Keltoum,

When you dress in silk and embroidery.


Hope you'll feel the atmosphere of this wonderful place...

Also, i just found a Live Video of Houria Aïchi singin this LP in a festival called "Au Fil Des Voix" (Feb.2008) ....Enjoy

Algeria, my love...

A more personnal post today...
I feel very nostalgic about my family roots and past.
I was born in Paris 1980.
My dad & Mom were born in Alger, Algeria when Algeria was still a french colony.
Nobody choose where he should scream for the first time.
For my Dad & Mom as for yours, it's the same.
My grand mother & Grand father were speaking Arabic currently in the 50's.
In 1962, Algeria been independant. And i'm happy with this...Very Happy
All french (called Black Foot by the Metropolitans) had to go back to France in big boat with just a case and some personnal effects.
Leaving Alger while people were sayin' Get out Fuckin French....
Arriving Marseille (South of France) with french screamin' Go back to your country Fuckin Arabs....
Yes France is a very Racist country indeed, better for u to know that

Unfortunately, Algeria fall into Civil War, Islam extremism & Poverty...for many years

I grew up in South suburbs of Paris, as some Media call it "Projects" or more often "Ghettos".
I grew up there with Algerians, Malians, Senegaleses, Morocans, Tunisians, Romanians, Turkishs and some time Gypsys friends.
Everybody criticized french governements about its immigration policy but if u never grew up over here, you just don't know nothing.
France has an history. A difficult one.
And as i was a child & teenager, you have to deal with this past everyday.

And thats what made Paris a beautiful city.
Popular & Mixed

I rather prefer the arab quarter (called Barbes) then the F**** Champs Elysees...
Anyway its not the point

Today i wanna talk about a Terrorist State as U.S. UK's and many Mass Medias call it...Bastards
My loving Algeria..
The heart of this country i share everyday threw my Grand Mother, threw the music i wanna share with you Today

It's not gonna be an epic history of Algerian Music, it's too big for a blog
I can share some beautiful feelings for sure if your heart is open


One of the most talentuous & misunderstood Algerian Artist was Cheikha Rimitti (Rest In Peace)

Rimitti was born French in the early 20's around Oran (Algeria) by Morocans parents. Orphans in eraly ages, she was livin from a neighboorhood to another one, sometimes inside Hammam and more & more illegaly. At 20th, she joined a musicians Hamdachis group and shared their lifes singin, dancin 'til death every nights. At this period, many epidemy were happen in Alger (as Albert Camus described it in his Master-Piece book La Peste "The Plague"), Rimitti has composed most of her first songs in this atmosphere. Never wrote a word on a piece of paper, always remembering and composing in her mind. But from this sad period, she preferred to remember only joy moments at Parties.
It's important to say that Rimitti in the 40's, was already singin Womens problems, and introduced to notion of charnel pleasures. But her writing subjects went more far: All loves forms, Celebrated frienship, her alcohol problems, emigrations problems...
Her poetry will cost a lot to Cheikha Rimitti: in the 60's the traditional religious new governement judged Rimitti as a non patriotic artist. And she had to leave her country, the country she sang so many times.

She composed more than 200 songs which are now in the national patrimony and more inside the arabic world singer. For all the Raï singers, she's THE great woman, THE Queen...
A real legend so weaved around this woman who haunts the collective imagination of the Maghreb for more than half a century. Rimitti, rediscovered for some years by a new generation, is a visionary. Her songs emphasized for half a century were never so close to the bloody reality of Algeria of the 90s, decade of all the dangers (For the women especially whose door Rimitti was the most audacious and the most lucid word).

According to prestigious concerts given in the big world capitals, Rimitti became the main ambassadress of the Rai (New York, Bets, London, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Geneva, Madrid, Milan, Berlin, Cairo) She receives meanwhile Grand Prix of the Disk 2000 of the Academy Charles Cros.
But it is to the another title, and to the only one in fact, that Rimitti hangs on, that of "Cheikha"
( the dean) More than a title, the term " Cheikha " is the indelible mark of its route, emblem of the wide furrow dug by its life of " Franco-Algerian rebel"
Refusing from the beginning the way of the " rai variety " borrowed by the generation of "Chebs" (Cheb Hasni, Cheb Khaled, Cheb Mami or Cheb Bilal to nominate the most famous), she privileged rather the variety of the style offered by the Rai. Her collaborations with Robert Fripp and Flea from Red Hot Chile Peppers on the album " Sidi Mansour " ( 1994 ) illustrate in the shape a "electric" bend taken in the end of the 80s.
Determinedly progressive, she assures the transition of a Rai resting on her traditional bases, indispensable to the implementation of the "trance", to that of a Rai "enriched and refined" in the rhythmic and more modern tones. She draws the outlines of a Rai which can one day be dreaded as a major musical current. A style mixing the African influences of Gnawa and the Arabian-Andalusian harmonies of the music Châabi with the raw words and often improvised of this Soul Algerian.

Her most recent album N’ta Goudami, released in 2006, was a lustful combination of traditional Algerian and modern rock sounds sung in a deep voice of booming energy that belied her 83 years and garnered enthusiastic reviews. For someone who had been officially banned in Algeria, Rimitti marked rai history by taking the defiant step of recording her last album at the Boussif Studios in Oran, the city where rai music was born over a century ago.

She continued performing until the end — two days before she died she was rapturously received by an audience of 4,500 at the Zénith in Paris.

She died in a Paris from a heart attack on 15 May 2006, aged 83, and is survived by 4 children, all of whom live in Algeria.

The song i proposed you to discover Cheikha Rimitti is called Nalhla (The Palmtree) and it from the album Nouar (2000)

- Nakhla (The Palmtree) -

I sowed my palm tree, I should have done it in my garden.

You sow when you are sure to stay

Not when you are leaving,

Because when I felt like savoring a date,

My foes refused it to me.

If you can't feel Algeria threw this, i can't do anything for ya...But me, i cry on it

It means a lot for us

Oneday i will go La Casbah....One day i will


Rest in Peace Cheikha...