Soraya Ksontini: Tunisian-born, Swiss-based songwriter crafts catchy Arabic-Frenchy pop
Want to make your coffeehouse playlist more interesting? Throw in some Soraya Ksontini, who at times sounds like a more interesting Norah Jones with her European pop taking inspiration from Arabic rhythms.
Ghoula: techno glitchiness meets natural North African instrumentation
Shouka is a French/Tunisian independent music label. Ghoula, who is on Shouka, is a Tunisian musician and producer who makes wonderful music that combines a sort of modern techno glitchiness with natural North African instrumentation.
From Ghoula’s bio on his website:
“This first solo album was mainly born as a result of Ghoula’s great passion for old North African vinyls. He would dig up vinyls from flea markets and the old Tunisian medinas, and then play various instruments over the original music. Gradually, he started sampling, to exhibit short particular sounds, which he used like bricks to build a brand new music genre. Thus, he immersed himself in a world apart, a world that he explored step by step through its various themes and lyrics. His ultimate goal would be to give a new life to this hidden musical heritage. With this in mind, and also to pay tribute to the nickname that he has always had, Ghoula decided to highlight the importance of his heritage even through the album’s title: Hlib el Ghoula.”
Bargou 08: “a unique blend of popular Tunisian music with modern, hard-pumping rave”
Wonder what post-‘Think Tank’ Blur would sound like if they spend more time in Tunisia? Bargou 08 is your answer. “Mamchout” is the first single off new album ‘Targ,’ which comes out February 17th via Glitterbeat Records.
“[This] Belgo-Tunisian band plays a unique blend of popular Tunisian music with modern, hard-pumping rave. The meeting between the heavy synth groove and the sound of the melismatic flute, reaches an even higher level with the playful rhythm section and the charismatic front man strong vocals. A musical journey through the almost forgotten popular landscapes of north – west Tunisia, an isolated region between the Tunisian mountains and the Algerian border. [They take] the listener to a journey through this musical heritage, so close to extinction, and perpetuate it through a celebration of authentic lyrics, melodies and dance, combined with modern beats and electronic sounds.”
“Ala Hallet ‘Aini” is a song from the soundtrack to last year’s French-produced, Tunisia-based film As I Open My Eyes, a film that follows a teenage rock singer during the Jasmine Revolution, which helped kickstart the Arab Spring (comparable to Persepolis and the Iranian Revolution). Joujma is the fictional band led by the movie’s young star, the excellent Baya Medhaffar.