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

Various: The Rough Guide to Africa Blues (Elite)

Various: The Rough Guide to Africa Blues (Elite)

Many decades ago now Paul Oliver wrote his then-definitive and still useful The Story of the Blues (Penguin, 1969). My recollection was that at the time there was also a tie-in double album which... > Read more

Silk and Bamboo Ensemble: Traditional Chinese Music (Arc)

Silk and Bamboo Ensemble: Traditional Chinese Music (Arc)

We have been down this seductive and often restful path a few times with the Silk String Quartet, the solo album by pipa/qin player Cheng Yu and the Taoist Music Orchestra of Shanghai -- but the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE GREAT LEADER AND THE FIGHTER PILOT by BLAINE HARDEN

THE GREAT LEADER AND THE FIGHTER PILOT by BLAINE HARDEN

About 15 years ago when I was engaged in some serious journalism of the international political kind, I had lunch with a fellow from Asia 2000, these days known as the Asia New Zealand... > Read more

GUEST ARTIST JOSEPHINE CACHEMAILLE on her new exhibition and current practice

GUEST ARTIST JOSEPHINE CACHEMAILLE on her new exhibition and current practice

I am interested in making objects, paintings and installations that provoke questions about our magical thinking tendencies. Magical thinking refers to causal reasoning that looks for... > Read more