The Sahrawi refugee camps, located in Tindouf, Algeria, and formed for those fleeing the Western Sahara War, have been in existence for 40 years. After a certain number of years, differentiating between a semi-autonomous refugee camp and an occupied territory ceases to be a useful distinction. Born into both occupation and exile, it’s entirely understandable that the Sahel to Cuba to Spain singer Aziza Brahim, while making some of the most sublime and lilting music in (ugh) “world” music arena, maintains her chief concerns; return, freedom.
Aziza Brahim was born in the refugee camp in the Algerian dessert in 1976 and lived there until moving to Cuba to study at 11 (she would return to the refugee camp in the 90s and begin her musical ascent there, before settling, for now, in Spain). She’s widely acclaimed in West Africa and Europe and at very least well appreciated by those in the know here in the States. Her new album, Abbar el Hamada (translation: Across the Hamada), should give her a deserved push toward more recognition, as it’s an inarguably beautiful piece of work. [Read More]