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Tunisian singer Emel Mathlouthi, at the “Ellas Crean” festival 

The performance by this artist, whose song ended up becoming the anthem of the “Tunisian Spring,” is taking place on Saturday, April 7 at the Conde Duque Auditorium in Madrid.

April 05, 2018
Before Cheb Mami or Cheb Khaled rose to the top of the music world by breathing new life into Arab music, Cheikha Rimitti had already powered North Africa up with her electricity. Hers were experiences that today have become the seeds for a way of understanding life that now reach us through other words and different sounds, but with similar demands involving social needs while advocating for the dignity of individuals. There, at thw beginning of this proud story, was one woman: Rimitti. Now coming to the festival Ellas Crean is a “granddaughter” of that wise lady: singer, guitarist and composer Emel Mathlouthi, known by all as “the voice of the Arab Spring” in the “Jasmine Revolution.”

This young performer effectively took the song which ended up becoming the anthem of an entire people out into the streets: “Kelmti Horra” (“My Speech Is Free”), for an entire revolution which ended up being acknowledged at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony when that award was given to Tunisia’s Civil Society. The song was prohibited by the Ben Ali regime, but it withstood among hearts that dug deep into the trenches of justice, equality and truth.

In her voice lie echoes of several masters, from Joan Báez and Amália Rodrigues to Sor Marie Keyrouz and Lebanese diva Fairuz. Similarly, her music has set down roots in many styles, from rock and trip-hop to electronic music and even the natural music of her home, the Maghreb and Middle East, allowing hypnotic sounds to creep in from the Raggas and Gnawa culture.

We can all recognize ourselves in Mathlouthi’s lyrics, because in them we are all equal. And in the songs by the young Tunisian woman we all live, because they are inhabited by an odd feeling of freedom that continues to feel necessary. As continues to be demonstrated these days.

For this concert, Emel Mathlouthi (vocals) will be accompanied by musicians Pier Luigi Salami  on the keyboards and Shawn Crowder on the drums. The performance will beginat 8:00 p.m. with free entry after picking up invitations as of one hour before the beginning of the concert at the center’s box office.

Further information
Tunisian singer Emel Mathlouthi, at the “Ellas Crean” festival 
Photo: Julien Bourgeois