The Rough Guide To North African Café

The Rough Guide To North African Café (RGNET1187CD) is a musical journey through Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt, featuring artists from Algeria’s legendary Maurice El Medioni to French-Tunisian ud master, Smadj.

Café music emerged in the nineteenth century coffee houses of Vienna and Berlin and the music halls, restaurants and brothels of Montmartre, Pigalle and Marseilles. France’s colonial relationship with Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria brought about a cultural and artistic influence that went both ways. Now both Muslim and Jewish North African music, as well as Egyptian shaabi, Algerian rai and Kabyl (folk songs) can be heard all over France and frequently hit the national pop charts.

The Rough Guide To North African Café is packed with infectious North African tunes – the unique melodies of Akli D, with a track from his Manu Chao-produced album, Ma Yela; the extraordinary voice of Maurice El Medioni, and the Andalusian-Cuban-Algerian fusion of Barrio Chino. Madioko and Rafika’s ‘Ellelli’, is a mixture of funk and dancehall with North African flavors and a European club feel, which is followed by ‘Hat’ a strongly melodic dance track by French-Tunisian ud master Smadj.


Other highlights include the unique sound of Barcelona-based Cheb Balowski, veteran Egyptian master musicians El Tanbura, the venerated Sudanese singer Abdel Gadir Salim, and the Arab-Andalusian music of Akim El Sikameya, whose songs seem to bring together Christian, Jewish and Muslim musical threads all at once.

The Rough Guide To North African Café ends with an interpretation of Edith Piaf’s classic, ‘La Foule’, by Tarik, Moroccan singer-accordionist. Here the shades of tango, rai, shaabi and even Afro- Cuban melodies exemplify the rich source of influences drawn on and the ever-evolving sounds that make up North African café music.

The CD contains a data track that includes music and travel from the Rough Guide books. To receive press information via email contact

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Author: World Music Central News Department

World music news from the editors at World Music Central