Akim El Sikameya was born in Oran, Algeria. He is the youngest son in a family of six, born to a Justice Civil Servant father.
At the age of eight, Akim joined Nassim el Andalous, the well-known Arab-Andalusian music school whose teachings he followed for the next fourteen years. Meanwhile, he studied at Montesquieu Secondary school and joined the school band (the headmistress being a great music admirer). Akim’s childhood and teen years are rooted in Arab-Andalusian music.
At the time, Oran was waking up to a different style of music, Rai, which is becoming the most famous Arabic music in the West. The Algerian youth was set on free by Khaled, Cheba, Fadela and Cheb Mami, and their irresistible talent.
But the leaders of the developing Algerian nation have uniquely bet on the Arab-Muslim identity to build up the country’s cultural future, forgetting its historical human and religious melting pot and promoting Arab-Andalusian music to a status of national classical music so much that the overfed younger generations chose to turn their backs on it.
It was no easy trick for Akim to convince his friends of the beauty of this sophisticated age-old art. In 1990, he nevertheless succeeded in founding a band with whom he adapted and modernized Arab-Andalusian nubas, adding Flamenco guitar and piano to compose songs. In the meantime, he studied at the university to become an electronics engineer.
Four years later, in 1994, Akim left Oran for Marseilles (France) where he followed a marketing master course, while still continuing his progress in music.
Then, he chose, to his family’s surprise, to become a professional singer under the name of Akim El Sikameya, sika and meya being two of the most often played Arab-Andalusian nubas. He entered the music profession, giving concerts and was noticed for his soft and fine head voice which expresses so well deepness and alegria (happiness).
In 1999 he recorded his first album Atifa – Oumi (Night and Day). Following the release of the album he went on a world tour and was the opening act for such stars as Khaled, Cheb Mami, Willy De Ville, Les Negresses Vertes, Natacha Atlas, Cesaria Evora, and Noa, to name just a few. He gained more and more confidence on stage.
He was applauded at the Womad Festival in Las Palmas, Madrid, Reading and Singapore and was invited to a world tour.
Atifa (Essengo/MDS, 1998)
Akim El Sikameya mix
Med’Set Orkestra – live in Sete Sois
Un Chouia d’amour
Introducing Akim El Sikameya (World Music Network, 2008)
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 produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and 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. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.