Born in Algeria in 1978, Mona Boutchebak lived in the famous district of Algiers, Bab-El-Oued. When she was 5, she began to learn classical music at the Conservatory of Algiers (piano, violin) and she studied Arab Andalusian music from 1989 to 2003 in three prestigious schools El mossilia, Es Sendousia, and El inchirah. She discovered with enthusiasm the methods of this music.
Mona studied the complex ways of Arab Andalusian music, the nubas, the poems. She quickly became a soloist and musician (she plays kuitra and lute). She was 15 when she took part in cultural events, in France and abroad. She became a soloist for the Tlemcen Orchestra and participated in different national events in Constantine, Sidi Bal Abbas, Blida. She continued her studies and obtained an English degree. She was also featured with Algerian rap groups.
For the promotion of the MBS album (Algerian Rap group) in 1998, on an Algerian Radio station, the host, charmed by her voice, proposed that Mona participate in the station in order to present musical shows. This gave her the opportunity to meet Marseilles-based Barrio Chino.
The group was preparing an homage to Algerian Music hall from the 1940’s to the 1960’s. However, they didn’t have a singer so Mona was introduced to them by Farid Toualbi, director of the radio station.
It all came together suddenly and Les Orientales were born. This show charmed everybody (Les Docks des sud in Marseilles, Magador Theatre in Paris) for 3 years. The public and press described this show as fabulous and Mona’s voice as bewitching.
Furthermore, her voice gave her the opportunity to be considered a veritable discovery in France as a talented soloist during UNESCO’s year of Algeria.
With her friends of Barrio Chino, Mona recorded Le diwan de Mona, where she mixed the Arab Andalusian tradition with modernity, using drum set and electric guitar.
Le diwan de Mona
Les Orientales, Hommage au Music-Hall D’algerie (MK2/Night & day)
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV 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 albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.