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Monday 15 May 2023

Ernie's African Odyssey Pt. 1 - Algeria

Welcome to the first stop on our musical tour of Africa. Good to have you on board, I hope you'll stick with us all the way to Zimbabwe. Our first stop is Algeria, a country with much good music to choose from. 

But first, many thanks to Charity Chic for suggesting the title, which is much better than the options I had been considering. He has drawn on his extensive experience or presenting series and demonstrated once again why he is known north of the border as the Thane of Themes.

Anyway, on with the show. The late great Rachid Taha was always going to feature in this post and fittingly the title track from his last album is the perfect song to kick off the whole series. 

Mr Taha came from the city of Oran, which is also the birthplace of rai (the music genre not the Brazilian footballer or the Italian broadcaster) and Khaled, its leading exponent. With global album sales of more than 80 million Khaled is probably the most commercially successful Algeria musician ever.

Rai as a musical form has been around since the 1930s but really rose to prominence in the 1980s. That was also when electronic sounds first got incorporated in rai, and there is a great compilation of some of those early experiments called 'A Moi La Liberte' available on Bandcamp. That is where the Chab Hamouda track comes from.

We can't visit Algeria without heading down south to Tamanrasset to take in the Tuareg guitar bands. I've opted for Afous d'Afous, one of the many bands from the broader region who are getting recognised more widely thanks to the excellent folks at Sahel Sounds. This is the title track from their 2017 album 'Tenere', also available from Bandcamp.

While you are there, pick up a copy of the recently released  'Amazigh Freedom Rock 1973-1983' by pioneering Algerian rock band Les Abranis. You may have it already, of course, if you were paying attention when I plugged it back in March

Now over to the musicians. Hope you enjoy them. Next stop is Angola - see you there. 

"Je Suis Africain" - Rachid Taha

"Yema Yema" - Khaled

"Zahri Mate" - Chab Hamouda

"Tenere" - Afous d'Afous

"Avehri" - Les Abranis


  1. Algeria will be a tough act to follow!

  2. Do you accept requests for the series?

    1. Always happy to receive requests, can't guarantee to meet them all though

  3. Hooray!! What a GREAT idea!
    Writing as I am from Zimbabwe, and fresh off the Miombo Magic festival, please consider Chikwata 263, Jah Prayzah, Flying Bantu, Selemani, and mightiest of them all, Mokomba.

    But your taste is uniformly impeccable, so maybe, IDK, you do you.

    1. Thanks for the suggestions. The only one of those I know is Mokoomba, who are excellent as you say. But it will be another year or so until I reach Zimbabwe so plenty of time to investigate the others!

  4. A good appetiser for your series. I liked (and pinched with charitable consequences) the Rachid Taha track best and although he appeared first I did actually play all the others!