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

Zusha, Kavana (iTunes)

Zusha, Kavana (iTunes)

This Jewish trio from New York (and a number of guests) explore and interesting, if sometimes familiar, thread within Jewish music. But in their hands this is where tradition meets Downtown.... > Read more

Laura Riz: Gypsy Soul (Arc/Elite)

Laura Riz: Gypsy Soul (Arc/Elite)

Look, I have absoluely no doubt that singer Riz -- who was previously a fashion choreographer and director who sang light jazz and bossa nova -- makes music as authentically "Gypsy" as... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

The Groundhogs: Blues Obituary 50th Anniversary (Fire/Southbound)

The Groundhogs: Blues Obituary 50th Anniversary (Fire/Southbound)

The Groundhogs are not a band you hear much, if ever, mentioned these days. They emerged at the start of the British blues boom in the early Sixties and – with singer/guitarist Tony McPhee as... > Read more

Central Coast New South Wales, Australia: Killing care on the road

Central Coast New South Wales, Australia: Killing care on the road

About halfway across, when traffic slows to a fume-filled crawl, I glance sideways to see the city's most famous icon. And it occurs to me this is the first time in three decades I've been... > Read more