by Souad Massi

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Not every iconoclastic artist translates into the liberal world of Western pop -- but it's easy to hear what makes Souad Massi special. You don't have to know anything about the repressive conditions of her native Algeria or the riskiness of a woman stating her thoughts, alone with a guitar, in the male-dominated Muslim world. You don't need to appreciate the radical dislocations of the North African immigrant in cold, distant, Paris. Even a familiarity with flamenco, chaabi, or the Arabic classical styles that inform Deb is unnecessary. Massi's magic is worked with her carefully ornamented voice, singing in Arabic, French, and occasionally English, over the spare backing of acoustic guitar and percussion. Deb, follow-up to the album Raoui, which gained her a devoted following in Europe, is a rich mélange of styles: American folk rock, Spanish rumba, Algerian pop (or chaabi), and a bit of French chanson. A perfectly balanced, cosmopolitan listen, Deb is as likely to find Massi backed by a string section as an African djembe drum. Lyrically, the album lives up to its title, painting vignettes of loss and regret, from the straightforward "Ech Edani" (I Shouldn't Have Fallen in Love with You) to the nuanced "Yemma" (Mummy, I Lie to You), where the immigrant confesses the truth about a world in which she's cold, lonely, broke, and abused in the streets of a city far from home. Even without the benefit of lyric translations, Massi's music connects instantly -- seldom does one encounter an artist who is as truly universal.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/16/2010
Label: Imports
UPC: 0044003836822
catalogNumber: 891465

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Souad Massi   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
David Fall   Drums
Gerard Geoffroy   Flute
Jean-Paul Dessy   Violin
Rabah Khalfa   Tambourine,Vocals,Darbouka,Bendir
Jean-René Zapha   Bass,Choeurs
Chris Henry   Drums,Vocals
Mohamed Bennis   Oriental Violin
Jean Francois Kellner   Guitar

Technical Credits

Erwin Autrique   Producer,Engineer
Jean-René Zapha   Arranger
Chris Henry   Arranger
Souad Massi   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Sarah Ekman   Executive Producer
Nicolas Gautier   Artistic Director
Jean Francois Kellner   Arranger

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DEB 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago