Artist Profiles: Cheikh Salim Fergani

Salim Fergani
Salim Fergani

Cheikh Salim Fergani is a maestro of Maluf music. Fergani was born in 1953 in Constantine (Algeria), in a family of musicians and artisans, embroiderers, since the Beys (Otoman princes) period. He is the eldest of hadj Mohamed Tahar Fergani’s sons, the leader of Music in Constantine and the grandson of sheikh Hamou Fergani (1884-1912), the famous hawzi singer and the Sufi Aissaoua group.

From this strong musical familiar surroundings, he had a gift for music, since he was young. His father taught him Arab Andalusian music. His uncle, Mohamed Seddik Fergani (1913-1995), named Zouaoui, introduced him to the techniques and the art of the ud (Arabic lute).

Since 1968, he started his professional carrier with his father Hadj Mohamed Tahar Fergani in recordings. At the same time, despite of his father’s presence, Cheikh Salim Fergani interacted with other sheikhs of Constantine who taught him more about Maluf, Mahdjuz, Hawzi, Arubi, Quadriates and Zadjel.

He has excellent memory, which allows him to assimilate information easily. Like his father, he devoted himself exclusively to music, to improve his knowledge, learning from cheikh Abdelkader Toumi (1906-2005), a remarkable encyclopedia. After long years, this relationship has played a key role in Salim Fergani’s life and in the music of Constantine.

Salim Fergani improved his skills, close his father, as a member in the family orchestra. He also performs as a musician and singer with his own group.

He has performed concerts, made recordings and has been featured on TV, letting the public discover an artist with talent and knowledge of the music of Constantine during the 1970?s.

Since the 1980’s, he’s had brilliant international career that led him to Europe, Asia, Africa and the United States of America. His control on the musical repertory and the ud, his understanding of communication, his rigor and human qualities made him an artist particularly demanded by international cultural institutions.

Written and translated by Benderbal Hichem. Edited by World Music Central.

Discography

Algeria: Troubadour From Constantine (Buda Musique, 1997)
Nouba Live in Lille
Nouba Sika in Geneva
La Noria De Los Modos
El Manantial De Tus Ojos (
Pneuma PN850)
El Amante Abandonado (Pneuma
PN920)
Elegia a La Muerte De Salah Bey
Dos Corazones (Pneuma
PN440)
Bashraf Kabir
Prado De Gacelas (Pneuma
PN460)

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.

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