SOUAD MASSI (ALGERIA)
Souad Massi has a hard time explaining herself to the western media. She's an Algerian superstar who has never played a note of rai music. She's a Muslim woman who refuses to act as some kind of self-appointed spokesperson on womanhood and Islam. She's a Berber of Kabyle origin, but has never been a flag-waver for the Berber cause. She sings ballads of tender intimacy and nostalgic introspection, prompting idle comparisons with any and all female singer-songwriters with acoustic guitars the world over since the dawn of time, and yet AC/DC and INXS were amongst her strongest formative influences.
But the world loves an enigma, and enigmas rarely come as talented, beautiful, honest and courageous as Souad Massi. The Bab El Oued district of Algiers in the late 1980s and early 1990s wasn't exactly the ideal place for a sensitive young female musician to prosper and thrive. With her tomboy haircut and drainpipe jeans, Souad Massi was the target of spittle and invective as she walked to guitar lessons and band rehearsals, before and after curfew, dodging the tanks and posses of armed police in civilian clothing. Her first band was a female troupe of flamencoholics called 'Les Trianas d'Alger', but she tired of their bogus Andalusian obsessions, and left to join Atakor, Algeria's only hard rock combo worthy of the name. A cassette release made Souad Massi's reputation, but also put her on the fundamentalist militia's hit list, so she simply gave up her musical career until an invitation arrived in 1999 to come to Paris and perform at Le Cabaret Sauvage as part of the Women of Algeria festival.
Within three days of her arrival she'd been signed by Universal France. Her first album 'Raoui' was welcomed by both critics and punters as a brave new dawn in the history of Maghrebi music. They made no mistake. Her youthful obsessions with western rock, folk, country music, as well as the chaabi and classical andalusian music of her native land, gave birth to a style uniquely her own, an emotionally charged vehicle for themes of loss, nostalgia and the bonfire of innocence which was the Algerian civil war of the 1990s. Two subsequent albums, 'Deb' and 'Mesk Elil', have only served to fortify her reputation and deepen her enigma.
A4WM 2005 Nomination
BBC Music album review
Lenka, Czech Republic
She has very poetic and clever songs. I love every her song. Good luck in life and thank you for your beautiful music!
I love your voice and i am very proud of you. You are the symbol of the majority of Algerian women: brave, courageous and beautiful.
Souad-Just don't say Algeria is an Arab country again in your interview and everything is fine. You are free to deny your Amazigh origin and claim you are Arab, but there is many of us Imazighen (Berbers) that still REFUSE the Arab identity). So, just respect us and be whatever you want to be.
Souaad:D she captured me wiz the Music her voice speachless lyrics so cOOl i really not good in explaining but she's so Cool ;)
ouaar samir belgique(algerie)
bravo a toi souad massi, je suis heureux d'ecouter sur les ondes autre chose que la rai. merci d'avoir elargie ou plutot d'avoir donné la possibilité au monde de decouvrir le large eventail de notre patrimoine musical. PS : tes chansons sont un emerveillement et te voix une delectation. Merci et baraka allah fik
Arwa Massarwa, Palestine
I don't have words, I love u
Roberto C. Alvarez-Galloso,CPUR: Miami Florida
One of a Kind.
Yusuf/ Shakopee USA
It is wonderful to hear you sing with such a beautiful voice. I hope that one day that I will be able to see you in a life audience. I listen to this song because it explains some of the pains that we all go through but at the same it appeases the soul. Bless you dear.
I love her voice.
DJ~I-M~ from Islamabad
I learn the Ful Guitar lessons. Please send me Latest and Famous lessons.
Souad Massi is what we call ''une artiste complete'' She is a poet, a talented composer, a great guitarist, beautiful and has a great voice! Keep up the great work, Souad.
Hamada, Hong Kong
Definitely a different edge to Souad's lovely voice! Beautiful song, although the arrangement doesn't do it much justice. It feels like a big jam where everybody is talking at the same time- I'm talking about the instruments here! But like I said, an exciting prospect and a different approach to souad's singing. Thums up!
Hamada, Hong Kong
Definitely a different edge to Souad's lovely voice! Beautiful song, although the arrangement doesn't do it much justice. It feels like a big jam where everybody is talking at the same time- I'm talking about the instruments here! But like I said, an exciting prospect and a different approach to souad's singing. Thumbs up!
Tony Brennan UK
great a well deserved award. True inspiration.
Chris, Leeds, England
I saw Souad last month in Bristol as part of the excellent 'African Soul Rebels' tour with Amadou & Mariam and Emmanuel Jal. The whole night was a total joy, but Souad's energy really surprised me the most & the mix of the set was just right and had the audience eating out of the palm of her hand. I just wanted to say thanks for such a great gig.
keep on going, Souad all the beast and 1000 Roses _ kiss
i love your music souad massi thanks
I'm an Algerian ex-pat living in Austria, and I love Souad and her music. It is so good that the West gets to see that Algeria isn't all about noisy rai music, but also subtle, beautiful tunes.
Neil Wallace - New York
She's total brilliant. This burdz welcome roond mah hoose onytime. Ah'd definite share mah whisky n sing wi her in a.
One word is enough to describe her:Classic. Souad you brought out the talent of Muslim women. Osman/Montreal
gorgeous poetry in the Algerian language, she speeks about love, hate, trust, familly and many other topics. she also talks about several taboos in the Algerian society. although she was not famous 5 years ago, the youngsters of algeria have made her famous, as she attracted many of them through her very stylish acoustic performance. we would be glad to see her singing in London.
Everything about her is beautiful; her looks, her songs, her home country. Us Algerians are so proud of her!
wow, wonderful beats and words in a beautiful style. Way to go Souad!
Mihail Kojalo, Latvia, Europe
She is woman, she is swing, she is beat at the same time. And all over, she is from beutiful land, Algeria, where I spent 4 years.
Anna K USA
Beautiful, sincere,untarnished, unique and original. A very charismatic young lady.
Tayeb Bourouag - Chelghoum Laid - Algeria
This young lady expresses herself in a beautiful spoken algerian language referred to as "polluted" by the officials and the defenders of a cleansed arabic they want to impose to the people of this country.
Rob Greaney from New Zealand
I have two albums of Souad Massi and I was wondering what she might do to top herself as I have found both albums food for a hungry soul. If this song Ilham is any indication of whats to come then the future is looking good for a serious lover of middle eastern music. It seems a whole lot more tribal that earlier recordings and seems to convey the feeling that she is part of a community of musicians rather than a great songwriter performer with a brilliant backing group. She sounds so much more one of them rather than out in front of them. I love it, can't wait to get her new album
I love you so3ad
An enchantingly lissom voice and- incongruous to the somewhat oversullied 'mellow singer-songrwriter' genre- distinctive approach, not to mention persistent nomination in previous years surely necessitate that Massi receive an award. It quite simply has to happen...
Cliff Van Eaton, Tauranga, New Zealand
Ballads, yes, but Soud Massi also rocks, and you have to catch one of her live performances to see how this woman, small in stature, can make a whole audience get up and dance. It's a unexact comparison, but to me she's an Algerian/French version of Joni Mitchell. Sweet songs, and sad songs, but also some get up and go for it songs. Check out the live performance of Denya on the WOMAD 2004 album, or Amessa or Awham on her album Raoui. It's this wonderful fusion of east/west/ballad/rock that I love about Soud Massi.
A beautiful young woman with so poetic songs.I vote for her and hope in her victory