Massi is a talented and courageous young guitarist and vocalist
from Algeria, now based in Paris. She was born in 1972 and has
spent a lot of time seriously studying music with the ambition
to become a singer. Other members of her family are also performers.
At one point Souad was in a flamenco band but this did not succeed.
With determination she formed a new rock band, Atakor, with
whom she toured in Algeria for seven years and recorded a top-selling
cassette and 2 videos. Reminiscent of what Joan Baez said in
the 1960s, she was not satisfied with being just an entertainer
and became outspoken but this was a difficult stand to take
and still remain in Algeria, especially for a young woman. She
lost her job in town planning.
In 1999 Souad got the chance to go to
Paris to perform in the 'Femmes d'Algerie' concert. Her stunning
performance led to a contract with Island Records. The resulting
beautiful album, Raoui, (Storyteller), has been a critical
and commercial success in France. Some of the tracks are in
Arabic and others in French. This debut album has sold well
in Britain and world-wide, see CDs. Souad's
music can be described as rock and traditional. Instruments
she uses are electric and flamenco guitars, Arabic lute, gumbri
(Saharan acoustic bass) and karkabous (Saharan metal castanets).
In 2003 Souad's second album, Deb
was been released. On it the essence of her music remains the
same: moving poetic love songs and highly enjoyable swaying
rhythms as well as more musical styles and orchestration.
Keeping up the momentum, Souad has recorded
a beautiful 3rd album, Honeysuckle (mesk
Two notable songs are duets with Daby Toure and with Rabah Khalfa.
October 2001 Souad was on stage at WOMEX
in Rotterdam and got everyone's
attention. Her fame is spreading more as she
was also nominated for the Newcomer Award
at the January 2002 Radio 3 World Music Awards. Algeria is always
in the heart of both her music and life and she would like to
make a positive contribution. Her family is still in Algeria
but she wants to take advantage of the freedom of expression
she has in Europe. She denounces the oppressors without being
boastful nor activist. She feels that to remain silent would
mean that terrorists have won and that all the intellectuals
they murdered died for nothing.
Souad has toured, supporting Orchestre
National de Barbes, Thierry Titi Robin, Geoffrey Oryema and
a beautiful web site that has details of Souad's very busy touring
schedule in Europe. Also for more info click and join this group:
Massi List. Souad was on stage at WOMAD Reading 2002
and was part of London's African Music Festival in May 2003.
We look forward to seeing and hearing lots more from her!