Artist Profiles: Abdelli


Abdelli is a Kabyl Berber, born on the 2nd of April 1958 at Behalil in the Great Kabyl (Algeria). Author, composer and interpreter, he mixes his native traditional music with modern elements. With an open mind, he does not hesitate in accepting other musical forms however distant they may be from his own.

Abdelli’s first professional performance took place in Dellys (Kabylia). He won several awards in Algeria for amateur singers and eventually moved to Belgium where he met producer Thierry Van Roy, who was so fascinated with Abdelli’s music that he spent two years exploring the roots of the Berbers’ musical tradition at the University of Algiers. In 1995 Van Roy produced the New Moon album and it came out on Peter Gabriel’s Real World label. Abdelli’s career took off and he started to perform at major festivals in Europe, including WOMAD.

Abdelli’s lyrics express strong and poetic images of his culture which is threatened from all sides. He expresses himself essentially by symbols which are parts of his traditional culture. He tries to make known the ancient Berber culture which, by its tolerance and openness, is an example to follow in our troubled world.

Abdelli’s music is a reflection of the Kabyl culture open to the world and to its differences. His music is the meeting of the quarter of a tone with the tempered scale. Using traditional Algerian instruments such as the mandola, the bendir and the darbuka, he has collaborated with musicians from South America and the Ukraine, inviting in the usage of the cajón (Peru), the tormento, the quena (Chilean), and the bandura (Ukrainian) resulting in the creation of unique and colorful new rhythms.


New Moon (1995)
Au-delà de Gibraltar (2000)
Among Brothers (Real World, 2003)
Destiny (2011)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites and 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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