Traditional / folk music of Algeria
Algeria is the most important voice of folk music in north Africa. Exposing to West-Africa, Sub-Saharan,Ottoman Empire and also Europe produced to huge diversity of folk and traditional music in Algeria. Although in the past few years after millennium Algeria suffers from fundamentalist and human right violation from the government (or even before that), the folk and traditional music of Algeria is still continue to exists and evolves on it's path and still is one of the leading voice in music of North Africa. During the history, Islamic culture, Arabic poetry meet with the culture of Ethnic groups in Algeria and mixed up with music comes from Europe (specially Andalusia in south of Spain )
Andalusian classical music - Algerian Chaabi - Malouf (Ma'luf)
Andalusian classical music is a type of music originally created in Emirate of Cordoba (Al-Andalus in south of Spain) in the 9th century. The proccess of creation is not very clear between the historians but it was made by Arab, Kurdish or Persian musicians with the approach of Europian music. Chaabi and Malouf are styles of Andalusian classical music which is popular in North African countries. Malouf is played by small orchestras, consisting of violins, drums, sitars and flutes. Modern malouf has some elements of Berber music in the rhythms, but is seen as a successor to the cultural heights reached by Muslim Andalusia. Ma'luf is more popular or more used in Tunisia than Algeria. Mohamed Tahar Fergani is a Master of Malouf genre from Algeria. Chaabi originally appears in the late 19th century, inspired by vocal traditions of Arab and Berber Andalusian music. Chaabi means "folk" in Algerian. For a long time it was underground music and it was played in specific locations called "Mahchachat" (cannabis dens) where the admirer of this music would go to drink coffee. Later it was formalized by El Hadj M'Hamed El Anka. He spend most of his life to develop and teach this music and it became part of popular and folk music of Algeria which is widely used in weddings and religious festivals. Today he is known as "father of Chaabi". Mandole and oud are the main instruments in Algerian Chaabi. Mandole was created in the 1930s by luthier named Bélido, based on an idea by El Hadj M'Hamed El Anka.The mandole has eight, ten, or twelve strings in doubled courses and it looks like oud which is another instrument used widely in North Africa, Arabic countries and also Turkey.
Raï is form of folk music in Algeria which is originated in north-west of Algeria in coast area. It was the music of the shepherds (raï means shepherd) which get mixed with Spanish, French, African and Arabic musical forms, which dates back to the 1930s. Cheikha Rimitti is one of the most iconic and pure musicians of this genre. During the years Raï evolved a lot. It is influenced by pop, hip-hop and many western musics and instruments. It is widely used in popular cultures or disco-techs. Even the musics from Cheikha Rimitti today influenced by western culture.
Gnawa music is a type of folk music which exists mostly in southwest of Algeria. It is repertoire of ancient African Islamic spiritual religious songs and rhythms.The music is performed at lila, entire communal nights of celebration dedicated to prayer and healing guided by the Gnawa maalem, or master musician, and their group of musicians and dancers. The ceremony of gwana is clalled lial. Although lila ceremony still exists today, but this type of folk music is modernized and goes on it's own way. It has a specific world festival and the traditional music of Gnawa is mixed up with many other genres like jazz, blues, hip-hop ... . This music mostly exists in sub-Saharan West-Africa and Morocco. Hasna el Becharia is one of the most famous Algerian musicians of this genre.
Kabylie and Berbers
The word Berber in Arabic means "stranger". Berbers are a nation within a nation in Algeria and North Africa and their region in Algeria is known as Kabylia. Their music is kabyle. They have a rich interesting culture and music. During the years their music influenced all the musics in Algeria and north Africa and even France. During the 1930th, many of Kabyles moved to Paris and they opened cafes. Some musicians like Noureddine Meziane added some modern instruments like violin, guitar and banjo to original folk music and melodies. Later many of these musicians became part of Algerian independence movement.
Tuareg people are a big group of Berber ethnic group who lives in Algeria, Mali, Niger, Libya, Burkina Faso and a small part in Nigeria.They have a big culture including their folk music. The main instruments in pure folk music of Tuareg people in Algeria and also other countries are a kind of violin which named Imzad (or anzad) and small tambour which is called tende. This folk music played in camel and horses races and some other social events. Most of Imzad players are women.
Algeria has also some other type of folk and ethnic musics which historically are old. Like Hofii and Zindalii. But as much as we know there are very rare recordings exists for them, if you know some recordings from them please send them for us or if you have some information about different genres of folk music in Algeria or it's musicians please send us through contact us page. Even a single line will help us to improve this page.
Traditional / folk songs for Algeria
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