June 17, in Paris, district of Goutte-d’Or, in the 18e district, a square dedicated to a celebrity was officially inaugurated. A sign reads: “Place Cheikha-Rimitti, 1923-2006, pioneer singer of raï”. “We could have put it elsewhere, this sign! »Storms singer Souad Asla. She finds it almost insulting for her heroine to have placed it there: impossible to photograph it without having the public toilets in the axis …

Read the obituary: Cheikha Rimitti, Algerian singer

Originally from Bechar, a city in the Algerian Sahara near the Moroccan border, arrived in France at the age of 20, because in Algeria, he was prevented from ” live your dreams “, Souad Asla participates with the singers Samira Brahmia, Hadjla and Nawel Ben Kraïem in the collective concert called” Les Héritières “produced by the Parisian cultural venue FGO-Barbara, where it is presented on September 30 for the opening of the 11e edition of the Magic Barbès festival. The event pays tribute to the Algerian singer Cheikha Rimitti, dean of raï, who died at the age of 83 of a heart attack on May 15, 2006, two days after having performed on the Zenith stage in Paris.

Read the interview (2005): Cheikha Rimitti: “I am here, and the young people have evaporated”

Rimitti was a queen, a diva, a model, proclaim in chorus the four singers participating in this “ tribute », An initiative of Mouss Amokrane, artist associated with FGO Barbara for two years, half of the duo Mouss and Hakim (defectors from the Toulouse group Zebda). The inauguration of the square was a fabulous pretext to imagine this tribute to Cheikha Rimitti, tells Mouss Amokrane. It seemed interesting to me to also honor the heritage of this artist, what she represented and still represents through a program. [quasi] exclusively female for this edition, to tell her story through different proposals. This concert, organized under the musical direction of guitarist Nassim Kouti, will be a highlight. “

Cheeky free woman

Solid as a rock, Rimitti was the rebellious memory of the traditional raï, accompanied by the soft breath of the reed flute (gasba) and the gallâl, cylindrical, terracotta drum. She said “I am the djada »(The trunk), which had not prevented him from accepting very urban and contemporary dressing proposals on his rocky voice during the last years of his career.

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A prolific author and emblem of the genre, the Sheikha was a brazen, daring free woman, a good living. Until the end of her life, she has lost none of her rocky tone. She sang of nomadic loves, pleasure, life and its spirits. She was the inspiration for many chebs and chabas, and some have sometimes attributed her compositions a little nimbly. For a long time, she was angry with these brazen looters who “steal her job,” she said. On his album Kutche, recorded in 1987, Khaled had covered The Camel, one of her bits of bravery, forgetting to credit her.

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