Souad Massi will be the next guest in Bea Palya's hugely successful series. "I love how tradition meets subversion in her music,” says Bea. "Her brilliant performance technique is couched in the emotionality and mystique of female Arab singers. But she is also a husky-voiced rocker gal who uses elements of Western music.”
Massi was born in 1972 in a working-class neighbourhood of Algiers. Her family listened to all kinds of music, from Arab pop to American soul. Although they considered mu...sic-making to be something for boys, when Souad wanted to learn to play the guitar, they enrolled her in a music school. Social conventions were hard to change, however. Society's image of how women should act filled her with fear, so she had her hair cut and wore boys' clothes. She could only really be herself at night, when nobody could see her crying. She played flamenco in the school orchestra, then joined the hard rock band Atakor, where she could act out her anger. Her first demo recording, however, already captured her characteristic folk-ballad sound. Although her songs didn't sound anything like the ‘cool' Arab hits, radio stations loved them - enough for the singer to also begin to receive death threats, leading to her choice to ‘keep quiet'. But her fans still wouldn't forget her.
In 1998, she was invited to the Algerian Women festival. Her appearance there led to a French recording deal. In 1999, she moved to Paris and, in 2001, released Raoui, her first album. It created a singular voice in Arab pop that was closer to Leonard Cohen than to Khaled. Since then, she has made five more albums, sometimes with a personal focus and sometimes with a political one. El Mutakallimûn is the latest of these, written in the belief she can influence the Arab world so that it will finally measure itself not in terms of its billions of petrodollars, but on the basis of its art, science and philosophy - as in the seventh and eighth centuries.
In Müpa, Massi will be accompanied by guitarist Medhi Dalil and percussionist Rabah Khalfa. She will undoubtedly captivate the audience with both her old and new hits. The only question is which ones will they perform together with Bea Palya.
Presented by: Müpa Budapest
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