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Awards for World Music 2007 - Middle East & North Africa
Les Boukakes

Les Boukakes album cover
France’s multicultural society has taken a battering over recent years: extreme right politician Jean Marie Le Pen made a near-successful bid for President while widespread violent rioting has flared across les banlieus (urban estates) housing many of the nation’s immigrant communities. Yet musically France keeps making strides forward as the nation’s young musicians put prejudice aside so coming together and creating music bubbling with an array of international flavours.

Les Boukakes are the latest French outfit to gain a degree of national success and international interest. Formed in 1999, Les Boukakes consist of seven members from a variety of backgrounds – Tunisians, Corsicans, Italians and French – who came together to create a sound system that developed into a high-energy band. Their name is a response to unkind comments thrown at them: “boukake” being a phonetic mixture of two typical racist insults.

Les Boukakes chose the name as an affront to racists and while their music eschews ostensible political comments in songs their name is a deliberate reaction against bias and ignorance. From playing on the streets and in squats they worked their way up to sharing stages with the likes of Manu Chao and Taraf De Haidouks (amongst many others). In 2001 they released their first album Makach Mouch'kil (No Problem). Fusing rai ‘n’ rock ‘n’ reggae, they married Orient and Occident to great effect. In 2005 they released the new album “Bledi” and toured all over Europe to promote it. Chosen to appear at Womex at Gateshead in 2005 their high energy performance won a strong reception and lead to their version of the Arabic tune Sidi H’Bibi appearing on The Rough Guide To Planet Rock CD.

Like Rachid Taha, Les Boukakes are intent on fusing North African grooves, rock guitars and lyrics sung in French and Arabic. Vocalist Bachir Mokhtar cuts a commanding presence and songs leap from ancient desert blues to edgy electronic anthems. Through their energy and musical directness Les Boukakes aim to represent a new multicultural Europe where many cultures blend rather than clash and everyone comes together to dance and celebrate.

Garth Cartwright

Les Boukakes website
Read other people's comments then Tell us what you think:

sally recher Strasbourg
Bravo, je savais que votre musique serait récompensée, moi je l'ai reconnue depuis longtemps, aux larmes... citoyens!Merci "Cheers, I knew that your music would be rewarded, I recognized it for a long time, with the tears... citizens! Thank you"


Picked the Bledi CD up in the UK after listening to them on NPR (National Public Radio) here in the states. All I can say is WOW!!! I'm a huge fan now and forever. Still looking for some translations, but the music rocks and is highly addictive...be warned and enjoy!!Peace.

Thomas - Tübingen - Germany
I heard one track of les boukakes in a music club, after that I searched three years for an cd. I must see them this summer - great, exiting music - I hope they will win..!!!!Thomas

Hammond David
les boukakes,this french band is exellent,they mix a lot of styles,their energy on stage is great!!i hope they will the winners!!good luck les boukakes!

Adel, Montpellier, France
Quelle magnifique fusion des styles et de culture !

Roland LE GUA
le metissage est une chance pour l'humanité, les BOUKAKES en sont la preuve musicale la mieux rythmée Merci

isabelle from fayence
Les Boukakes are very excellent. Their concert on stage saturday was fabulous. I hope too they're winner. Sorry for my english very bad!!!

Ron White
A terrific mixture of influences performed with enormous panache.

Audrey from Fayence,France
i saw them on stage yesterday,it was amazing!their energy, their mix of musics from the world,their simplicity,all was perfect,& leads us to dance all night long!i hope they gonna win this award,it will be fabulous for them!they're really good!

azouz france
c'est trés esthététiqueet un peu splendide à la fois .

touati david tunisia
les boukakes , i saw them in budapest for the sziget festival,great energy and successful fusion,you can see their video in myspace.com/lesboukakes good luck!!!

Les Boukakes when are you coming back:p i am still going to school voer here and i smoke in weekends:P I am looking forward to your next performance in holland, INCHALLAH i will have my drivers license then..

Tommaso Tella - Rome - Italia
I discovered this band since 2000 when I had listen the Boukakes demo. I say this was a surprise for their fusion of rai ‘n’ rock ‘n’ reggae, that married Orient and Occident with great sound and soul. In this summer i've lost the concert in Rome but i've buied the "BLEDI" CD that now it's the best that i prefer to listen. Les Boukakes are REALLY excellent! Some friends of mine say that prefer their concert on stage because the energy that they produced feel very very good! I have still not had the pleasure to try it! I hope they're winner!

Emmanuelle Cerri, Cattenom F-57 / Luxembourg
I discovered this band last July and I must say this was a real revelation to me! Their energy on stage is amazing and the pleasure they have while performing is so great that the public just feels the same. You just want to smile and dance with them! I can't wait for their next album! Les Boukakes are excellent and I truly hope that they will win so that I'll have an excellent excuse to come to London!!! ;-) Emmanuelle

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