in BRISTOL, a city chock-full of wonderful people and probably the best musical activity per capita anywhere. Staying at Chez Parasite & digging thru k7/cd shop finds from Paris. On tour you have time to catch up with friends but not yourself. Where was I 2 cities ago?


The Barbés neighborhood (Barbés Rochechouart stop on metro line 4) is overwhelmingly male, Arab and North African men men men on the streets, smoking, in silence and talking, with the brisk smuggled cigarette trade jostling Ramadan sweet stalls & bread, roast corn.

this first tune is the Algerian rap equivalent of Killah Priest’s Heavy Mental track. 9 minutes long! avant-gardey news collage to ambient hiphop to beat & snare. from Lotfi’s Double Kanon album. Lotfi is Algeria’s biggest rap star. I understand snippets of the French & Arabic but not not enough to be useful. Commentors? share your linguistic wisdom? I bought this at Etiole Verte on Rue Caplat. they were playing 50 Cent.

I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating: world music is music with truly global reach. Think U2, Beyonce. So, 50 Cent is one of my favorite world music artists right now. Britney Spears used to make world music, but now she’s just world tabloid. Hmmm… anyhow, here’s what’s popping at the most experimental edge of mainstream Algerian rap.

Lotfi – Batard



this next one is scratchily recorded old chaabi, very beautiful, perfect for late night listening (in B’s flat, dark cathedral outline just beyond the window, as you sip rooibos and feel the city go quiet, ease into sleep, cover itself in patchy silence). CD lists his name as El Hadj Mohamed El Anka. Transliterated spelling is slippery however (Hadj M’hamed, El Hajj Muhammad, etc).

18 minutes long! Voice, oud, orchestra, abetted by time-keeping darboukas & tambourines.

this is familiar & dusty in a good way. Dusty: The CD slips into Sublime Frequency style tape hiss/filter weirdness and sudden shifts in quality. Released on Fassiphone, they must have compiled it from time-worn tape reels. Familiar: the song is one of his classics, “suffisent pour nous renseigner sur la grandeur d’un des plus grands piliers de la culture algérienne.” as said in this nice article on him from a Lounes Matoub fan site.

El Hadj Mohamed El Anka – Sobhane Allah Ya L-tif (suite)


11 thoughts on “PARISIAN ALGERIENNE”

  1. Hey Jace:

    Just found your blog, and it’s great! Glad to have your perspectives on global music and such. Your take is different to that I take on SoundRoots, and I’ll be returning for more.

    I understand your assertion that “world music is music with truly global reach” — it makes some sense that music appreciated globally is appropriately called “world music.”

    Yet, that’s not the commonly agreed definition. More often, “world music” means ethnic music from elsewhere. I’m forgetting who called it “other people’s local music,” but that rings true for me. It may be a shallow marketing scheme, but if not for the “world music” bin at record stores, where would you find old music from Algeria, or folk music from Okinawa, or Gypsy brass from Serbia?

    In an ideal world, we could have specific bins for all such genres of music instead of the catch-all “world music.” But it ain’t a perfect world.

    Besides, 50 cent and U2 hardly need another term/bin for their music.

    So I’ll respectfully disagree, and stick to my own vague-but-useful (and ever-evolving) definition of world music as that music that has distinct cultural/ethnic/place roots.

    Anyway, thanks for the great blog!

  2. Beyonce in Addis.

    “Beyonce marks Ethiopia millennium

    Pop star Beyonce has joined millennium celebrations in Ethiopia with a concert for 5,000 fans.
    The concert was part of the country’s year-long celebration of its 2,000th birthday according to its ancient calendar.

    The star gave a two-hour performance in Addis Ababa, singing songs from her new album, B’Day.

    Beyonce told screaming fans that they had been one of the best audiences of her lifetime.

    Lukewarm reception

    However reaction to Beyonce’s opening act, multi-platinum-selling rapper Ludacris, was lukewarm from a crowd that tends to be loyal to music in its national language, Amharic.

    “Rap music doesn’t suit Ethiopia,” said local music promoter Michael Melake.

    “Ethiopians need a melody. It’s all about the black American experience, and we don’t relate to that.” he said.

    In September, at the start of the year 2000, Ethiopia’s capital hosted another concert by Black Eyed Peas, but reception for the hip-hop group was also stilted.

    Beyonce, who began her world tour in Moscow last week, will continue on to Romania, Turkey, India, Thailand, Indonesia and China.”

  3. this is great! full-on support of my Beyonce as world music theory. its true about ethiopians’ musical taste from all ive heard (quite a bit) from The Ex & friends. after Ex concerts, they’d get asked things like “why did you play all the wrong notes?”. utter national self-confidence in ethioipian music

  4. Your “true global reach” theory about world music immediately came to mind when I saw that news bit. It makes sense, your definition.

  5. Hi Jace,

    Fine position. But is it helpful to get the great music that you focus on in this blog get global reach?

    On my bookmarks your blog is under world. Sorry. Have a lot of fun.


  6. Jozef — I dont feel ‘discomfort’ w/ the term “world music”, I was just offering another way of thinking about what that adjective ‘world’ could mean!

    I understand that world music describes a powerful market niche. What world music DOESNT describe is the wealth of material that is labeled it, as a genre-label its about as vague and useless as something like ‘hardcore’ — even ‘pop’ is more specific, since it at least contains ideas of popularity. Whereas “world music” can be anything from a Peter Gabriel soundtrack to Last Temptation of Christ to old archival recordings of Tuareg circumcision rituals to Israeli army songs to Gilberto Gil. Clearly it is not a genre as such.

    if anything, it’s a signifier of otherness — nonWestern otherness usually, but that’s problematic as well, since most ‘world musicians’ don’t think of themselves as such.
    For example , if you hear music from Morocco you might think, ‘oh, this is great world music’, or even ‘oh, this is great arabic music’, but with a bit more intimacy, you start seeing the complexity and abundance in its specificity: no world music is produced in Morocco, but there IS lots of rai, chaabi, berber, gnawa, reggada, alaoui, chaabi, andalusian, rap, classical, and a whole lot more.

    but critiquing the term World Music is like shooting fish in a barrel!. if its useful to you, then that’s good enough! I’m totally fine w/ someone calling MuddUp! a world music blog — in this case, the terms vagueness works in its favor.

    but i am curious: what should a Haitian compas drummer, or a traditional Thai singer, or an Iranian heavy metal guitarist, think of as ‘world music’? Should they auto-exoticize? the term world music is fittingly parochial, in the end, tending to describe the person doing the labeling rather than the music being labeled.

    thnx for the links! FYI, i contributed some world music flava to Ghislain’s album. the track Exils features violin from my bandmate Abdelhak which I recorded & produced over a few sessions and sent to Ghis in exchange for his beat on my Taqasim track (Also w/ Abdel)

  7. damn! missed this one. if there are any mp3s you are considering re-upping at some future point, please consider this one as a request. cheers!

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