Souad Massi: O Houria/Liberty (Wrasse/Shock)

 |   |  1 min read

Souad Massi: Enta Ouzahrek
Souad Massi: O Houria/Liberty (Wrasse/Shock)

It has been far too long since this Paris-based Algerian singer has graced the pages of Elsewhere -- her Mesk Elil of 2007 contained the sublime psychedelic track Tell Me Why (here) among other delights, and her double acoustic "best of" album of 2009 (although it didn't get a mention here) has been a personal favourite for a long time.

Massi has always been a little hard to categorise: she brought flamenco, Americana and Francophone pop to her sound more than traditional Algerian music -- and she has never been averse to electric guitars, as the chiming and rolling Kin Koun Alik Ebadia here once again proves.

It's also no surprise to find that admirer Paul Weller appears on one track -- a soulful, one take improvised duet Let Me Be In Peace -- or that here she sings in French, English and Arabic, or that this almost folk-rock album is co-produced by legendary French writers/musicians Francis Cabrel and Michel Francoise.

Although blesed with a subime, pure and gentle voice, Massi has never been a precious petal. She started life in a politicised rock bands (A Letter to Si H'Med here has a strong socioplitical text) and here she fires off a missive to her lazy, misogynist man in the dark, jazzy Stop Pissing Me Off over acoustic bass. It sounds dangerously malevolent in Arabic.

Yet she follows that with the romantic melancholy song of farewell to a relationship in Un Sourire/A Smile over acoustic guitar, mandolin and accordion.

Throughout there is an emotional strength and rigour to her lyrics (which are reproduced in English and give a sense of her righteous indignation at injustice or the treatment of women) and she delivers these with conviction and beauty.

Intelligent folk-rock from a distinctive voice.

Like that? Then try this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

ELSEWHERE WORLD SERVICE: A quick overview of recent world music releases

ELSEWHERE WORLD SERVICE: A quick overview of recent world music releases

Here's a frequent flyer/transit lounge column for those at home who want to get their musical passport stamped. Elsewhere has so many CDs and downloads commanding and demanding attention that we... > Read more

Various Artists: Turkish Groove (Putumayo/Elite)

Various Artists: Turkish Groove (Putumayo/Elite)

The Putumayo label pumps out the compilations and some of them, most actually, are pretty indifferent. But the likeable generic packaging has captured the imagination so some people just get... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

AUCKLAND ROCK VENUES (2003): Pull down the shades

AUCKLAND ROCK VENUES (2003): Pull down the shades

It was Joni Mitchell who said it first - and Counting Crows thought it bore repeating: "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot." It wasn't exactly paradise which disappeared... > Read more

Silver Jews: Lookout Mountain Look out Sea (UNSpin/EMI)

Silver Jews: Lookout Mountain Look out Sea (UNSpin/EMI)

This US indie-rock band with loose links to early Pavement might not be to everyone's taste -- but singer-songwriter David Berman's easy blend of the occasional Johnny Cash gravitas in his... > Read more