Oudaden, one of Morocco’s mythical groups of the last twenty years, draws its inspiration from traditional Amazigh (Berber) music. The group is passionately devoted to its roots, which they update into a lively music that enjoys the support of North African audiences since its early days, while more and more international sspectatoraudiences rapidly become enthusiastic.
Their music is an innovative mix of traditional bendir and nakus sounds; these traditional Amazigh instruments they combine with modern ones including banjo, electric guitar and tam-tam. In their universal lyrics they explore the subtleties of love as well as the economic and social difficulties of their region, being the spokespersons of Amazigh culture.
After several successful tours in the United States of America and in Europe, especially on the stages of Bercy and the Zenith in Paris, and 14 albums contributing to the revival of Amazigh songs, the group has attracted the attention of international media and world music professionals.
Mor Karbasi has one of the most beautiful voices in the world music scene. Her latest album is Ojos De Novia (Eyes of the Bride) where she continues her fascinating explorations of Andalusian, Sephardic and North African Berber music.
From her current base in Sevilla (Spain), Mor Karbasi is able to experience the legacy of ancient traditions left by Jewish, Moorish and Christian communities in Spain.
Mor Karbasi’s superb band complements her extraordinary voice. Led by her partner, multi-instrumentalist Joe Taylor, the musicians enable Mor Karbasi to cross musical boundaries, ranging from Berber, Sephardic and Medieval songs to flamenco, plus the added spice of modern music elements.
The lineup on Ojos De Novia includes Mor Karbasi on vocals; Joe Taylor on guitar, trumpet, saz and toy piano; Shimon Ifrah (leader of the Jerusalem Andalus Orchestra) on vocals; Cameroonian bass maestro Richard Bona; Kai Eckhardt on bass; and masterful flamenco guitarist Jose Israel Torres.
Ojos De Novia is beautifully crafted and captures the passionate heartfelt vocals of Mor Karbasi and her talented multinational world music band.
Umalu is a North African Berber, born in Algeria. He grew up in Europe and currently lives in Los Angeles (United States of America). After finishing hid studies in physics, Umalu produced his first CD called Heritage of Berber music which went world wide in the net in 1999.
Since then, Umalu went on to produce music for documentaries and a new instrumental CD entitled Decadence.
Umalu has appeared in concert venues in Southern California and created a new project called Syphax named after a Berber King. His shows are visual with slide shows of exotic images of North Africa and trance, techno ethnic percussive music.
Mohand Alileche, known as Moh in the United States of America, was born in Kabylia, a mountainous region of Algeria, in 1959. At that time the Algerian war of independence against France was still being fought. The colonial government executed Alileche’s father so he grew up as an orphan.
The first instrument that Moh used was a homemade lute with one string. He later learned how to play the Spanish guitar. He is now a leading performer on the mandola, a 10-silk stringed musical instrument of North African origin. Moh plays traditional folk music of Kabylia, and his lyrics present his social commentary on the plight of the Amazigh (Berber) culture of North Africa. Moh’s songs are written and sung in Kabyl.
In 1990, Moh Alileche moved to the United States of America, settling in the West Coast. Since then he has been a regular at world music festivals, promoting Kabyl culture. Two percussionists normally accompany him, Henni Hached on darbuka and Sadek Haddadou on bendir.
Tawaghit [Tragedy] (Flag of Freedom Productions, 1998)
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.