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A Soundtrack to a Modern Algeria

Kabyles are one of North Africa’s indigenous Amazigh or Berber populations. Today, Imazighen constitute North Africa’s largest minority, identified by their language and vibrant cultural traditions. Late Algerian singing star Idir is widely recognised as among the originators of this new musical genre. Idir cloaked his songs in western harmonies, arranged them for guitar and other contemporary instruments, and brought them to audiences across North Africa and Europe. His hit song A Vava Inouva (Oh My Father) had launched his international career in 1973, one that would see seven major recordings. The song inspired by a traditional story about a young girl trying to save her father from danger – carved out a new juncture at the intersection of several pathways. These included worldwide movements of decolonisation, revalorizations of cultural heritage, and new technologies like the cassette tape.