World Music Central’s Guide to Tunis

Contributed by Nizar Chaari with translation made available by Sarah Wolfe and additional information provided by Angel Romero.

Tunis is the capital of Tunisia, a small country located in coastal North Africa. The country’s history is ancient. A Phoenician colony grew into Carthage, one of the most powerful Mediterranean empires. Its strategic location turned it into a melting pot of cultures. Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs, Berbers (Amazigh), and French colonists have left their mark.

Tunis has a magnificent medina (old city in Arabic) with its famous souks (open air markets). They are divided by specialties, which include the goldsmiths, clothes sellers, the jewelers, tourist memorabilia, etc. Bargaining is a must.

Record stores

There are some good music shops outside the souks. The prices range between 5-10 dinars.

Radio

Radio Sfax MW 720 / FM 105.2 has a world music show, Mousika bidoun hodoud, hosted by Nizar Chaari on Monday 3-5pm (GMT). Contact information: 7 rue Immam Sahnoun, pic ville 3000 Sfax. Tunisia. Phone: 0021698278661.

Radio Tunis has online channels.

Festivals

In Tunisia, there are many festivals (more than 400). Of special interest are the Arab Andalusian (Maluf) Music Festival of Testour and the Sahara Festival in Douz, You will find a listing of the most important at the following site:
http://www.tourismtunisia.com/culture/festlist.html

For the international festival of Sfax, which features numerous Arabic pop and
classical singers, here is the site address:

www.itfarhad.com/festival%20international%20de%20sfax

Tunisian Artists

To read the profiles and discographies of Tunisian artists, click here.

There is additional information at these sites:

Music Schools

Rachidia [also spelled Rachidya] Tunisian Music Institute (Institut La Rachidia De Musique Tunisienne) was created in 1934 by Mustapha Sfar. One of the main goals of the school was to revive Arab Andalusian music, specifically the Maluf [also spelled malouf]repertory. Adress: 5 Rue Edday, Tunis. Phone: 00216 7 260 844.

Musical instruments

Hichem Bouallegue is a luthier who specializes in ‘uds [also known as ouds], the Arabic lute. His shop is located at 68, avenue de la liberté, Tunis. Bouallegue makes handmade ‘uds. It usually takes this craftsman about a month and a half to make one ‘ud. He usually sells them for 300 Tunisian dinars.

There are only about 5 craftsmen left who make stringed instruments in all Tunisia. On the other hand, there are many “industrial” ‘ud factories.

Cultural Centers

There are a few cultural centers that have a performance space and that organize
musical events. Not all of them are in the capital, but the country is small and
most venues are not far.

Acropolium
B.P. 33, Colline Byrsa, 2016 Carthage
Phone: 71 73 38 66 – Fax: 71 73 35 55

Centre Culturel De La Ville De Tunis
(Cultural Center for the city of Tunis)
Av. Mohamed V, 1001 Tunis République
Phone: 71 83 48 41 – Fax: 71 83 48 41

Centre Culturel Et Sportif Des Jeunes (Culture & Sports Center for Youth)
Av. O. Ibn Affen, 2091 Menzah 6
Phone: 71 23 37 34 – Fax: 71 78 87 33

Centre Culturel International (International Culture Center)
Av. Nations Unies, 8050 Hammamet
Phone: 72 28 04 10 – Fax: 72 28 07 22

Centre Culturel Sousse (Sousse Cultural Center)
Av. Med Maârouf, B.P. 56, 4000 Sousse
Phone: 73 22 54 50 – Fax: 73 22 54 50

Ennejma Ezzahra
8, r. 2 Mars, 2026 Sidi Bou Saïd
Phone: 71 74 01 02 / 71 74 60 51 – Fax: 71 74 64 90

Espace Sophonisbe
Carthage Hannibal, 2016 Carthage
Phone: 71 27 56 66 – Fax: 71 73 45 88

Maisons De Jeunes Et De La Culture (House of Youth and Culture)

Rte Tunis, Km 2, 3041 Merkez Chihya. Phone: 74 28 75 47
Rte Téniour, 3041 Merkez Chihya.
Phone: 74 25 56 43

Rte Aéroport, 3060 Mahres. Phone: 74 29 11 01
Km 6, 3011 Sakiet Eddaier.
Phone: 74 29 33 94

Av. A. Tlili, 3200 Tataouine. Phone: 75 86 12 59
3021 Sakiet Ezzit.
Phone: 74 25 05 00

Maisons De La Culture (Houses of Culture)

Maison De La Culture Ibn Khaldoun (Ibn Khaldoun House of Culture)
16, r. Ibn Khaldoun, 1001 Tunis.
Phone: 71 24 19 01 – Fax: 71 24 19 01

Maison De La Culture Ibn Rachiq (Ibn Rachiq House of Culture)
20, av. Paris, 1001 Tunis.
Phone: 71 25 21 54

Houses of Culture in other locations:

R. Imam Sahnoun, 7050 Mzel Bourguiba. Phone: 72 46 03 33
R. Nakhil, 1141 Bir M’Chergua.
Phone: 72 67 94 10

8114 Beni M’tir. Phone: 78 64 90 23
Compl. Culturel, 3200 Tataouine.
Phone: 75 86 02 50

C. Administrative, 3060 Mahres. Phone: 74 29 02 12

29, pl. A. Hachich, 3000 Sfax. Phone: 74 29 74 35

R. Gouvernorat, 7100 Kef. Phone: 78 20 09 74

Theatres

Amphitheatre Romain De Carthage (Roman Amphitheatre of Carthage)
Av. 7 Novembre, 2016 Carthage.
Phone: 71 73 13 32

El Teatro (The Theatre)
Bd O. Haffouz, Compl. Mechtel, 1005 Omrane.
Phone: 71 89 43 13 – Fax: 71 79 17 95

Espace Culturel El Hamra (El Hamra Cultural Space)
28, r. Al Jazira, 1000 Tunis R.P.
Phone: 71 32 07 34 – Fax: 71 32 07 34

Theatre Municipal De Tunis (Municipal Theatre of Tunis)
2, r. Grèce, 1001 Tunis République.
Phone: 71 25 94 99 – Fax: 71 25 96 48

Theatre De L’etoile Du Nord (Theatre of the North Star)
41, av. F. Hached, 1000 Tunis R.P.
Phone: 71 25 62 42 / 71 25 43 89 – Fax: 71 25 52 34

Theatre Municipal De Sfax (Municipal Theatre of Sfax)
Av. H. Chaker, 3000 Sfax.
Phone: 74 22 83 60 – Fax: 74 29 73 44

Theatre Municipal De Sousse (Municipal Theatre of Sousse)
Av. H. Bourguiba, 4000 Sousse.
Phone: 73 22 82 11 – Fax: 73 22 82 11

Event & Concert Organizations

Scooporganisation
specializes in Tunisian and world music artists. Mourad Mathri is the director.

Club De Musique Arabe (Arab Music Club)
28, av. Bab Jédid, 1008 Tunis Bab Menara.
Phone: 71 34 47 26

Espace Culturel (Cultural Space)
63, av. H. Bourguiba, 1000 Tunis R.P.
Phone: 71 33 97 57 – Fax: 71 33 01 13

Felix Animation 4, r. Chypre, C. Ettaâmir, 2080 Ariana. Phone: 71 71 20 14 / 98 22 19 40

Founoun On Line 8, r. Damas, 1002 Tunis Belvédère. Phone: 71 84 94 93 – Fax: 71 84 89 40

Kreativa Big Show, 11, r. Beyrouth, 1002 Tunis Belvédère. Phone: 71 84 28 43 / 71 84 86 89 – Fax: 71 84 86 89

La Palmeraie, 16, r. Imam Malek, 1004 Menzah. Phone: 71 23 80 10 – Fax: 71 23 80 10

Ministry of Culture

Ministere de la Culture
Address : 8, rue du 2 mars 1934,
La Kasbah – 1006 Tunis.
Phone: (216 71) 562 661, (216 71) 563 006.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. He was also the executive producer of the first Latino feature film made in North Carolina titled “Los sueños de Angélica.”.

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