I felt so good, some times ago, when browsing YouTube, I came across a video of “ El Gusto”, on the Chaabi Music of Algiers. After show, it’s averred that it was a grandiose manifestation of remaining talented artists of all the communities existing in Algiers, before the events of 1962, which venue reunites in un orchestra for a unique Concert, in the history of the Chaabi music of all times. And it will make history for the next generations of fans, for sure. There were a golden time for the Algerian Chaabi music, a Blues Genre in the Algerian music repertoires in the 60’s, just after the Independence of Algeria.
A small talk about it, for instance, is necessary I presume to introduce the Chaabi by its own. The name of Chaabi was given by its master himself, El hadj El Anka to a popular genre of music, that distinct its self from the Medheh, a religious music, and the classic schools of the typical music of Andalusia. The Chaabi draws its sources from the Andalusia Heritage Arab-Moorish music culture, and a proper Algerian country background. Before the fall of the cities of Granada, and Seville in Spain during the Reconquista epoch, the cities were the poles of attraction for the refugees of Muslim’s and Jewish communities, from all over the places in Spain, fleeing the persecution of the Spaniards.
We might say that the Chaabi genre is born in tragedy times, and tell the story of the tragedy. And each time, it regenerates from the its aches, like the Sphinx, and the name “El Anka” is of a rare bird of mythology also, given from a master of olden to his disciple of a rare talent, when he exceled to the point of surpassing the teacher.
The Chaabi sings the separation, the tear-off, of lovers, the longing for a remote home, lost forever ,the diaspora, but also celebrates the gathering and reunion of the two lovers.
Fifty years later, a joyful band members celebrated the event , a dream came true, to play one more time on stage together, in Paris, at the Opera or wherever, and above all within an orchestra.
In some sort the consecration, a revenge on the odds, after an exile of more the half a millennium, an off-spring of the Arab-Moorish music is raised in apotheoses on the other side of the Mediterranean.
In memories of all the Olden and new masters of Chaabi.