The Chaabi hours

2 Dec

I was delighted lately, when browsing YouTube, I came across a video of “ El Gusto”, on the Chaabi Music of Algiers .

After I  watched the clip, it’s averred to be the most greatest  event  of all times, in the history of the Andalusian Jewish-Arab music common heritage. They were still alive those talented artists from all the communities that still exist in Algiers of the pre-war era, it was an event by its own, and there they were reunified in an orchestra for a unique Concert given for the first time in the history of the Chaabi music. In that, it will make history for the next generations of fans for the years yet to come, for sure.

There were a golden time for the Algerian Chaabi music, a Blues Genre in the Algerian music repertoires, in the 40’s and 50’s, after WWII,  and then just after the Independence of Algeria , when it reconciled itself once more time, the Algiers public with the evenings recitals of Chaabi of the pre-war epoch. It was after the long nights of curfews and fears that the French colonies rulers had imposed the blackout on all the cultural, and music events, during the years of the Algerian revolution war.

A small talk about it, for instance, and it is necessary I presume, to introduce the Chaabi, on its own the genre of music, to the readers. The Chaabi music and lyrics, are Cassidates, meaning stories that are reflections of the Zeitgeist–the spirit of a particular moment, and the soul of a place,  revealing how a culture sees itself.

The name of Chaabi was given by its master himself, El hadj El Anka to a popular genre of music, that distinguished itself in the 30’s and 40’s from the Medheh, a religious music, and after the trove of a style that differs,  from the classic schools of the typical Moorish music of Andalusia, that usually was reserved for the ” aristocratic classes”, the wealthy people and the Serail. The Chaabi draws it sources from the Andalusia Heritage Arab-Moorish music culture, and a proper Algerian poetry from the terroire background.

Before the fall of the cities of Granada, and Seville in Spain, during the Reconquista epoch, those cities were the last îlots of peace , and the poles of attraction for all the refugees of Muslim’s and Jew communities, coming from all over the places in Spain, fleeing the persecuting Spaniards. After the fall of the cities in Spain, the inhabitants evaluated to North Africa Muslim countries were they found more dear and cognate welcome.

Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to__Charles Dickens

Three schools of Andalusian music formed and established respectively domicile in Tlemcen, with the Granada genre,  Algiers, where the Haouzi dwelled , and Constantine, the House of the eternal Maloof. We might say that the Chaabi genre was born in tragedy times, and it tell the story of a tragedy, . As we may say the melancholy longing for a lost home, could be found in the same way in listening to Federico Garcia Lorca’ poems, and  when  Louis Aragon narrate it. Nevertheless, now and then, the Chaabi regenerates itself from the its ashes, like the Sphinx. In the beginnings, the Arabic word “El Anka” is a name of rare bird, the mythical rock picked from the Arabian nights Sindbad tales, and given from a master of olden times, El haj Nador, to his young disciple of a rare talent, when the latest excelled to the point of surpassing the teacher.

There is the Delta Blues, the Fado in Lisboa, the flamenco in Spain, and the Chaabi as well in North-Africa; all of them sing a state of mind, the lament and separation of the beloved ones, the exile and longing for a remote home, a place lost forever. But also it celebrates the gathering and reunion of the two lovers. Fifty years later, a joyful band members celebrating a dream that comes a true, though an event after a tantalizing test of success for  awaiting too long, to play one more time on stage together in Paris, at the Opera,_S’il vouz plait.! Brussels, London, and lately in New York , at the Rockefeller Center, and above all things  within an orchestra exhibition. In some sort, the Chaabi took revenge on the odds, after an exile of more the half a millennium; an off-spring of the Arab-Moorish music is rising in apotheosis on the other side of the Mediterranean, and beyond.

Shall you visit Web and  and NPR: Shall you visit Web and and NPR:
In memories of all the Olden and new masters of Chaabi. thank you for reading In memories of all the Olden and new masters of Chaabi. thank you for reading
To contribute to this marvelous dream to come true, Please check this link below To contribute to this marvelous dream to come true, Please check this link below
kamal kamal



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