I'll have some Brie with that Baguette -- Taste of Kabylie

Silkworm's interview with Jacob, from ZUBA, inspired me to share with you all a link to a great Algerian musician by the name of Idir. His music is all about the Berber identity from North Africa, and in particular, Kabylia (the berber region of Algeria) where he and I are from. This very certainly falls under the World Music category and my guess is that very few of you are familiar with that culture and the music that comes from it so here's a taste of Kabylia, courtesy of Idir. Couple of notes: 
1/ Idir sings in Tamazight, a Berber dialect that is quite distinctive from the Arabic language (most untrained ears could be confused between the two)
1/ Idir's lyrics are very poetic in a traditional folk way, so here's below an approximate and very awkward translation in English (taken from a youtube comment) of his biggest hit  "A Vava inouva" /"My Little Father", and a link to the song itself. I chose this particular Youtube version, not for the visuals (a rather stupid still image) but because it features the original female backup vocals, which are absent from any of his live renditions.

"I ask you father inouva, open the door
O daughter ghriba, shake your bracelets
I fear the monster of the forest father inouva
O daughter ghriba, I fear him too

The old one is rolled up in his "burnous" (traditional trenchcoat)
in the distance, to warm himself
His son is scared to earn bread
Looking at the days to come
The grand-dauhter-in-law sews
Without stopping putting the cloth
The children around the grandmother
learn the teachings from the old days

The snow pushes up against the door
the stew in the large cooking pot
the elders begin dreaming of springtime
the moon and the stars being the canopy
the oak tree replaces the view
the family gathers together
ready to listen to the story"


eatabagel said...

At first I though you might be calling me out. I am a bagel though and not a Baguette. Close one.

silkworm said...

Thanks kafka - any artists in addition to Idir that you would recommend?

Michele Yamazaki said...

Lyrics can really give you quick a look into another culture in a way that is hard to do with other mediums. Really interesting, Kafka.

kafkajoubert said...

Wanted to post music links to a couple more Kabyle artists but it's proving rather hard to find quality video/audi links on the web; it just goes to show how low the exposure. Matoub Lounes, Fahrat and Ait Menguellet are three major ones. But here's a link to the biggest female Kabyle band. They're called DjurDjura (named after a mountain range in High-Kabylia) and one of them happens to be a remote relative, so there...
This song is a classic