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Souad Massi
Souad Massi TFF 01.JPG
Souad Massi at TFF Rudolstadt 2013.
Background information
Born (1972-08-23) August 23, 1972 (age 43)
Algiers, Algeria
Genres Rock, Country, Fado, Algerian folk music, World music
Occupation(s) Musician, Songwriter
Instruments Vocals, Guitar
Years active 1989–present
Labels Island
Website [1]

Souad Massi (سعاد ماسي), born August 23, 1972, is an Algerian singer, songwriter and guitarist. She began her career performing in the Kabyle political rock band Atakor, before leaving the country following a series of death threats. In 1999, Massi performed at the Femmes d'Algerie concert in Paris, which led to a recording contract with Island Records.

Massi's music, which prominently features the acoustic guitar, displays Western musical style influences such as rock, country or the Portuguese fado but sometimes incorporates oriental musical influences and oriental instruments like the oud as well as African musical stylings. Massi sings in Algerian Arabic, French, and occasionally English and Kabyle (Berber language), often employing multiple languages in the same song.

Childhood and early bands[edit]

Massi was born in Algiers, Algeria to a poor family of six children.[1] Encouraged by her older brother, she began studying music at a young age, singing and playing guitar.[1] Growing up, she immersed herself in American country and roots music – musical styles that would later strongly influence her songwriting.[2] At the age of seventeen, she joined a flamenco band, but quickly grew bored with the group and left.

Massi performing in 2005

In the early 1990s, Massi joined the Algerian political rock band Atakor, who were influenced by Western rock bands such as Led Zeppelin and U2. She recorded and performed with the group for seven years, releasing a successful album and two popular music videos.[3] The band, however, with its political lyrics and growing popularity became a target. Massi disguised herself by cutting her hair and dressing in male clothing, but she nevertheless became the target of a series of death threats.[1] In 1999, she left the band and moved to Paris, France.

Solo career[edit]

In 1999, Massi was invited to perform at the Femmes d'Algerie ("Women from Algeria") festival in Paris, which led to a recording contract with Island Records.[4] In June 2001, she released her solo debut album, Raoui ("Storyteller"), which Allmusic compared to 1960s American folk music.[5] Sung mostly in French and Arabic, the album became a critical and commercial success in France.[3] The following year, she was nominated for "Best Newcomer" at the Radio 3 World Music Awards.[6]

In 2003, she released her second album, Deb ("Heartbroken"). The album's lyrics were more personal, rather than political, and it became one of the most successful North African albums worldwide.[7] Three years later, Massi released her third album, Mesk Elil ("Honeysuckle"). The album expanded on the themes of love and loss that had been explored on Deb, and featured duets with Daby Toure and Rabah Khalfa. She was the italian variety show's guest star "Non facciamoci prendere dal panico" in 2006 by italian singer and showman Gianni Morandi.

In 2010, she released her fourth studio album Ô Houria. This album was produced by Francis Cabrel and Francoise Michel. It features Paul Weller on piano and vocals on its closing song.


Solo albums[edit]

Preceded by
Victoires de la Musique
World music album of the year
Mesk Elil
by Souad Massi

Succeeded by
by Agnès Jaoui


  1. ^ a b c "Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved January 1, 2007.
  2. ^ "Africa's shining music stars". BBC News. Retrieved January 1, 2007.
  3. ^ a b "Souad Massi". African Musician Profiles. Retrieved January 1, 2007.
  4. ^ Martin Longley (14 October 2005). "Souad Massi: Outcast in her native land". Independent. Archived from the original on 29 June 2007. Retrieved 27 April 2009. 
  5. ^ Chris Nickson. "Review of Raoui". Allmusic. Retrieved January 1, 2007.
  6. ^ Cornwell, Jane. "Belly dancing in the aisles". Evening Standard. Retrieved April 27, 2009.
  7. ^ "Souad Massi (Algeria)". BBC Radio 3. Retrieved January 1, 2007.
  8. ^ Wrasse Records 096, booklet contains English translations of sung texts only

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Souad_Massi — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

939 news items


Wed, 07 Oct 2015 06:20:14 -0700

Souad Massi huldigt op haar nieuwe album de Arabische dichters die zich met gevaar voor eigen leven verzetten tegen de repressie, waar ze in Algerije zelf ook mee te maken kreeg. Geïnspireerd door de gouden tijd van Andalusië herinnert ze ons eraan ...

Al Huffington Post

Al Huffington Post
Tue, 22 Sep 2015 02:02:32 -0700

Souad Massi interprétera lors de cette manifestation les chansons de son nouvel album, "El Mutakallimûn", sorti en avril 2015. Plusieurs autre artistes et troupes musicales venues de 13 pays participeront à ce Festival, selon le site Internet de cet ...

The Guardian

The Guardian
Thu, 14 May 2015 09:30:40 -0700

... history, sadness and her bravely adventurous new album El Mutakallimûn, which means “Masters of the Word”. “Yes, of course it's political,” says Souad Massi. “I believe in people who are fighting for freedom, and I try to give them some hope with ...

The Guardian

The Guardian
Thu, 16 Apr 2015 11:00:27 -0700

Algeria's finest female singer returns with an ambitious set in which she uses her gently exquisite, languid voice to rework an intriguing set of Arabic poems that stretch from the present day back to the sixth century. Contemporary protest is mixed ...


Fri, 02 Oct 2015 04:03:45 -0700

Souad Massi, one of the most successful female singer-songwriters in the Arabic-speaking world, talks about her latest album El Mutakallimûn, in which she daringly reworks contemporary and ancient Arabic poems that have a strong message of resistance ...

Rivista Africa

Rivista Africa
Wed, 09 Sep 2015 22:26:15 -0700

Souad Massi - El-Mutakallimun Dieci canzoni per dieci poeti arabi, spaziando dai poeti arabo-andalusi fino a Al-Shabbi, il più importante poeta tunisino del Novecento. E' questo il progetto che Souad Massi, artista algerina, di origine cabila, nata nel ...

BBC News

BBC News
Sat, 06 Jun 2015 03:12:42 -0700

Souad Massi, a BBC World Music winner, talks around her new album El Mutakallimun inspired by the golden age of Arabic poets in 9th century Spain. We learn about Nainsukh, India's 18th century artist who changed Indian art forever to become perhaps the ...

Financial Times

Financial Times
Fri, 22 May 2015 09:52:30 -0700

On a sultry night in Tunis, a youthful crowd leaps to its feet waving lighters and smartphones as Souad Massi sings Arabic lines that take them back to the Jasmine Revolution four years ago. The words are not those of the Algerian-born singer ...

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