Aziza Brahim is an iconic voice for the Sahrawi people. Since the departure of Spanish colonists in 1975, this community from the Western Sahara has claimed the tenure of land which is also contested by Morocco and Algeria. It’s a conflict which has led to thousands of Sahrawis being pushed into exile.
For a long time, Aziza Brahim lived in a camp in the Algerian desert, expressing her sadness, anger and nostalgia through music as a result of this uprooting. Nowadays, she lives in Barcelona where she met the singer and anti-globalisation activist Amparo Sanchez (Amparanoia), who was heavily involved in the production of Sahari, out now on Glitterbeat.
The pounding rhythms from the traditional tabal drum are intertwined with electronic percussion and drum sets. Guitars, keyboards and brass instruments send the listener on a harmonious transcontinental journey with haunting melodies inspired by the desert.
Western technology is here to amplify the strength of Aziza Brahim’s voice and the expression of her message. The introductory song is a plea for peace, accompanied only by tabals (Cuatro Proverbios). The more pop-sounding Hada Jil touches on the integrity of the demands of the younger generation; Brahim questions the disappearance of her conscience on the reggae-infused Las Huellas, featuring Amparo Sanchez.
Ard el Hub is written by her fellow countryman Zaim Alal, describing the darkness of exile, and on the ultimate Ahlami, accompanied by her faithful percussion and a guitar, she names all the places in her homeland she can now only visit in her dreams, but which she evokes so admirably over the course of this astonishingly well executed Sahari.