Les Abranis - Amazigh Freedom Rock 1973-1983 LP
Les Abranis - Amazigh Freedom Rock 1973-1983 LP (Bongo Joe/Switzerland)
BEST OF 2023 COURTESY DESK FAVORITE
The top of the record sleeve suffered a little blow out in shipping so if you are someone who requires a flawless record jacket, this is not for you. If you are someone who appreciates a one of a kind blend of funk, surf, garage, and Algerian folk, this record is for you.
Les Disques Bongo Joe return to the scorching Kabyle rock of Abranis, the pioneering Algerian band that blended traditional Berber music with western rock, folk, disco, and funk, all the while proudly celebrating their Kabyle heritage and taking the Maghrebi music scene by storm, from Algeria to France, the latter becoming a new creative center for the Kabyle diaspora.
Amazigh Freedom Rock 1973-1983 which follows the 2018 release of Chenar le Blues / Avehri as part of our 45s series, is a comprehensive look into their discography, from the garage-rock experimentations of their early days to their lushly orchestrated North African fusion masterpieces of the 1980s.
The Abranis story begins in the mid sixties, when two young Algerians crossed paths in one of Paris' bohemian neighborhoods. Both were Kabyle, the Berber people from Algeria’s northern regions, and both had escaped the repression that began with Algeria's 1962 independence and the establishment of its new, conservative constitution. The two young men, Shamy El Baz and Karim Abdenour, shared more than a common background: they both loved rock music, and both were passionate about fostering a modern Algerian sound, as inspired by Kabyle rhythms and melodies as it was by western rock. Living in cosmopolitan Paris meant that they came into contact with the wider North African community, whose sounds would increasingly influence the Abranis style, together with the musical trends of the time, from prog to disco.
The two musicians founded Les Abranis in 1967, joining forces with bass player Madi Mehdi and drummer Samir Chabane. Together they experimented by mixing Kabyle vocals and melodies with garage and psych-rock. The next few years saw the release of a handful of singles on several France-based North African labels, a raucous Algerian tour, and several lineup changes. Shamy and Karim honed their fiery Kabyle/rock blend on tracks but as the '70s progressed they increasingly moved away from the garage and psychedelia of their early days and began to interpret their Kabyle repertoire in more open and creative ways melting prog rock, jazz and some early electronic influences.
Over 11 electrifying tracks, Amazigh Freedom Rock 1973-1983 highlights their legacy as the underground kings of Kabyle rock.