This is Calles de Dajla from Aziza Brahim’s 2016 album Abbar el Hamada, the fifth studio album by the Western Sahara musician/activist/actress, one which, according to the label Glitterbeat, fuses “Innovation, naked truth, humility and political outcry”.
It’s a gentle and sincere work, too, by an artist whose life story could have easily been ripped from today’s headlines. It’s been my soundtrack for much of the morning. From her Glitterbeat bio:
Raised in a Saharawi refugee camp in the Algerian desert, and living in exile for more than two decades (first in Cuba and currently in Barcelona), Brahim’s life and music embodies both the tragedies and hopes of the present-day migrant and refugee experience.
As walls and borders are again being raised though-out Europe and other corners of the world, Aziza Brahim’s passionately sung poetic defiance, is especially timely and profound.
Says Brahim of her work:
I’m not able to separate politics, cultural and personal concerns. So, the focus of my music is all of these areas at the same time. Political, because of its commitment to the denunciation of social injustice. Cultural, because it searches for new musical ideas. Personal, because it expresses the worries of a person that aspires to live with dignity in a better world.
Some links for further exploration:
- Aziza Brahim: The Queen Of Western Sahara Desert Blues – Culture Trip
- Celtic Connections interview: Born and raised in refugee camps and educated in Cuba, Aziza Brahim has channelled her peripat – Sunday Herald (Scotland)