Undoubtedly one of the most interesting musicians to come out of Algeria in recent years, Souad Massi has been compared to artists as diverse as Françoise Hardy, Tracy Chapman and Joan Baez. Some listeners claim to find traces of American folk music in her song; others have detected the influence of Portuguese Fado. Nevertheless she is keenly keeping Northern African musical traditions alive, as the lute-like oud is much used as well as lyrics in Algerian Arabic and French.
Massi started her musical career with Akator, a political rock band that sought to challenge the political climate of Algeria in the 1990s. This proved difficult, and Massi received a series of death threats, eventually making her decide to move to France. Starting her career as a solo artist, she recorded the album Raoui in 2001, which was well received. Throughout several albums Massi has proven herself as a singer/songwriter balancing the inventive and traditional; protest songs and storytelling; the upbeat and the melancholic. Her lyrics are now less political and more personal. Performing live, her unique stage personality makes every concert an ambient experience.
In collaboration with the Algerian Embassy
Text: Kristian Krohg-Sørensen