A native of Batna, the sort of mountain village city dwellers like to look down on, Houria Aïchi decided to address the music of Algeria by reprising famous songs by great performers who had preceded her: Fadila Dziria, Chérifa, Zoulikha, Djura, Fadela d’Oran, Meriem Fekkaï, Aïcha Lebgaa, Rimitti, Beggar Hadda and Saloua.
Pleasure guided her towards these popular Algerian singers, and pleasure was in charge when it came to the project: “As concerns the Aurès [the mountainous part of eastern Algeria] repertoire, I had a sense of urgency, something vital, which is linked to my identity. There, I was guided by my memories of the audience, memories of childhood and youth, but also by curiosity.”
These singers are fascinating characters: the strength radiating from the face of Meriem Fekkaï, the freedom and insolence of Rimitti, the earthy power of Chérifa... Through them, Houria Aïchi wanted to pay tribute with her strong and generous voice to the women of Algeria of all generations.
For this journey into this heritage, Houria Aïchi is supported by an Algerian group led by “Mohammed "P’tit Moh (Little Moh)” Abdennour (mandolin and oud), who was also responsible for the arrangements, with Smail Benhouhou (piano), Ali Bensadoun (ney & gasba) and Amar Chaoui (percussion). Traditional instrumentation? Of course it is, but that instrumentation also includes the piano dear to the Algerian virtuoso Mustapha Skandrani (1920-2005), reminding us that Algerian song has continued to morph and transform itself in recent decades.
Houria Aïchi : vocals
Mohamed Abdennour : mandolin
Ali Bensadoun : ney, gasba
Smaïl Benhouhou : piano
Amar Chaoui : percussion
Collection VOX POPULI
CD - AC 148 - 2013