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Hasna el Becharia

b. c.1950, Béchar, Algeria. El Bécharia learned traditional gnawa music from her father. With him and others, at weddings she played chiefly traditional music of the Berbers, some of which is believed to have therapeutic powers. In 1972, she formed a four-piece group of her own with Zorah and Kheira. Mainly, she played guitar but also became adept on oud, derbouka, bendir, banjo, gumbri (a bass lute) and karkabous. She became increasingly popular from the mid-70s, switching then to electric guitar. Early in 1999, she was invited to perform in Paris at the Women of Algeria festival. She made a huge impression and attracted media attention. She remained in Paris where she teamed up with Frederic Galliano, including appearing at the Festival de Jazz à Vienne. El Bécharia, who sings in French and also in Soudania, the ancient language of her people, continued to perform extensively, appearing on stage and television. In 2002, the same year she released her Label Bleu debut Djazaïr Johara, she was at the Festival Voix de Femmes in Bruxelles and the following year appeared in London. Maintaining the tradition of the gnawa musicians of Algeria, El Bécharia is a powerful link with the past yet has captured the youthful audience of the 00s.
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