Lounes Matoub – Tavrats I L’hekam (from Lettre Ouverte Aux… 1998)
Jace reminded me again of how important this man was to the Berber world and free speech within music. Not afraid to speak his mind unlike most in North Africa, Lounes sang of secularism in his music and cut his Arabic classes in school as protest. A brazenly irreligious, pro-Berber rights activist was about as unpopular as you could get during the civil war of 91-02, and as a result Matoub was assassinated in 1998, just a few days before this CD was released. This was a decade after he had been shot five times during a riot by a police man, resulting in him being hospitalized for two years. Both sides of the struggle blame someone different for his death, but he remains a hero to the Kabyle with the music he left behind. This is the longer 20 minute track on the album, a sort of collage of instrumentation and speeches that I wish I could understand.
P.S., hard to fuck with that cover.
P.P.S., I finally realized my lack of Northern African posts and will remedy that with some Rai soon I promise.