Raised in a refugee camp in Algeria, Aziza Brahim embodies and mourns the displacement of North Africa’s Sahrawi people. Her ascent has been steady rather than spectacular, her breakthrough coming with 2014’s Soutak, an elegant acoustic set that drew from her adopted Barcelona home. Here, Brahim embraces the electric desert blues popularised by Tinariwen and Tamikrest (with whom she shares producer Chris Eckman). It’s a buoyant sound – Brahim’s voice is too airy for drones and chants – led by rolling pieces such as Calles de Dajla and followed by slow, contemplative blues. At its heart is a title track grieving for the exiled thousands stranded in an inhospitable tract of Western Sahara, whose only escape is “music and imagination”. Potent stuff.....
She was born in 1976 in the Sahrawi refugee camps, in the Tindouf region of Algeria where her mother had settled in late 1975, fleeing from the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara. Her father remained in El Aaiun where he later died. Due to the Western Sahara War, Aziza never met him.
Growing up in the severe conditions of the desert camps, Aziza discovered music as both a source of entertainment and a natural way to express and communicate her personal emotions and thoughts of resistance.
At the age of 11, she received a scholarship to study in Cuba, as many Sahrawi students at the time. She wanted to study music, but was rejected. She left school and returned to the refugee camps in 1995, pursuing her musical career.[ Since 2000 she has lived in Spain, first in León and later in Barcelona. She is married and she has a daughter....wiki...
In 1995, she won the "1st National Song Contest", in the National Culture Festival of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. She then joined the "National Sahrawi Music Group", touring Mauritania and Algeria] In 1998 she contributed with two songs to the v.v.a.a. album "A pesar de las heridas". That year she toured Europe with and the Sahrawi group Leyoad, visiting Spain, France and Germany. In 1999 she returned to the refugee camps, recording a session for the Sahrawi National Radio with Tuareg musicians from Tamanrasset, Algeria. Between 2001 and 2003, she toured again in Spain, France and Germany with Leyoad. In 2005, she collaborated with the Spanish Latin jazz band Yayabo. In 2007 she created the group Gulili Mankoo, composed of musicians from Western Sahara, Spain, Colombia or Senegal, mixing traditional African music with blues and rock, recording with them in 2008 her first solo work, the EP "Mi Canto". In 2009 she collaborated on a song of the v.v.a.a. rap EP "Interrapcion – Crisol 09", and one song from her EP was featured in the compilation album "Listen to the Banned". Since 2009, Aziza Brahim has been regularly touring Spain and France with the Basque txalaparta group Oreka Tx, in the "Nömadak Tx en directo" tour.
In 2011, she became involved in the Spanish film Wilaya, composing, producing and interpreting the original soundtrack, as well as acting for the first time in a film.
In February 2012, Reaktion released Brahim's first LP, entitled "Mabruk" in honor of her grandmother, for June. In April, Efe Eme magazine reported that Brahim would take part in the 2012 edition of the WOMAD Cáceres festival.....wiki...
"Abbar el Hamada " 2016 review
Since the death of the great Mariem Hassan, Aziza Brahim has become the most important voice for the Saharawi people, many of them still living in refugee camps in Algeria, exiled from the homeland that they have called ‘Occupied Western Sahara’ since it was invaded by Morocco in 1975. Aziza was born and raised in the bleak desert refugee camps, but left to study in Cuba before eventually moving to Barcelona. Her last album, Soutak, provided musical reminders of her travels, and became massively successful in Europe. It’s no surprise, then, that she is backed here by many of the same musicians, and the producer is once again Chris Eckman, known for his work with Bassekou Kouyaté and Tamikrest.
Aziza has a relaxed, cool voice and there’s an easy-going feel to many of the songs, despite the angry political lyrics. She’s at her best on the upbeat ‘Calles de Dajla’ and the bluesy lament ‘Mani’, on which she is joined by Malian blues guitarist Samba Touré. The final track, ‘Los Muros’, is a reflection on the vast wall built by the Moroccans to surround the territory. A little more of Hassan’s passion and grit would have been welcome, but it’s a classy, commercial set. .... by Robin Denselow ........
2008 Mi Canto EP
2011 OST Wilaya
2016 Abbar el Hamada
1998 A pesar de las heridas – Cantos de las Mujeres Saharauis
2009 Interrapcion – Crisol 09
2010 Listen to the Banned