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Originally from Sétif in Algeria, charismatic band leader and multi-instrumentalist Anouar Kaddour Cherif is steeped in the classical music traditions of North Africa from his time performing with various ensembles in Eastern Algeria, where he developed his love of Arab-Andalusian music and honed his talents as a composer and singer. Djawla is the culmination of Anouar's wandering life over the last three years since he left his native country at the age of 24 to settle in Switzerland, a place which in his words has become "a refuge for his ear and musical fingers to find multiple possibilities of expression." These nine Arabic jazz-infused tracks showcase Anouar's sublime mandole playing and see him team up with Clément Meunier on bass clarinet, Hannes Junker on drums and Antoine Brochot on double bass. Anouar also adds heartfelt vocals to 'Call Of The Night' and the closing track 'Amiret Erriyam', adding a further dimension to these wonderfully crafted compositions. This debut international release is a unique integration of the Algerian mandole into a contemporary jazz setting and an exploration into the intriguing relationship between Arabic music and jazz. A classic example is the wonderful 'Sirocco' which sees Anouar draw on his Arab-Andalusian musical roots combined with the band's incredible virtuosity and improvisation. For Anouar each track represents a different visual scene and life story: "A Saharan wind, very dry and hot blowing on a 6/8 rhythm. A mixture between the violence and the softness of the wind which settles in Switzerland after a long crossing of the Mediterranean, telling us what is happening in the old quarter of Algiers." Being separated from his homeland, these compositions have been a way of providing solace for Anouar and an expression of his grief for a life left behind. A case in point is the deeply moving 'Autumne Occidental' inspired by a time when he was without accommodation and had to rely on the kindness of a Jewish lady, who became like a second mother, for a place to stay. Likewise, 'A True Lie' reflects his life in exile, as Anouar explains, "I needed to blindly attach myself to dreams, to people, to memories. It was my way of showering the little seed of hope I had left and softening the harshness of my daily life." Djawla is an album which never ceases to explore and on the upbeat 'Virgule' the band push the envelope yet further in an Indian inspired piece described by Anouar as "A frantic race between my mandole and the clarinet of Clément with the drums and bass providing the Afro-rhythm setting for this gripping dual." This is a wonderful example of the bands incredible ability and willingness to help provide a vehicle for Anouar's singular musical vision.


  1. Name
  2. Sans Pap
  3. Albatross
  4. Savage Butterfly
  5. Call Of The Night
  6. Sirocco
  7. Autumne Occidental
  8. A True Lie
  9. Virgule
  10. Amiret Erriyam

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