What to sing ?

I called him that night, December 12th around 11 pm. I said that someone elected a president for Algeria, and asked him if it was the end. We went in rounds, and then he told me that at least now, after 10 months of weekly protests against dictatorship, corruption and repression, "we have a great playlist", he said. It's the music of our revolution.

I went back...
I went to the revolution, to the protest and to our holy Hirak...
(Hey, make sure to click on the text in bold and italic, or you'll miss the fun)

In 2013, I wrote blog posts on Volta Ao Mundo Musical, a musical journey that I've started with dear Lucas, and he wrote about Songs of revolution, and it's only now that I remember that Idir was on that list. But, if we reconsider the 2019 Algerian music around the revolution and how it could gather around popular aspiration, it becomes a duty to honor and celebrate these lyrics continuously.

The list of holy artists that will come below in non-exhaustive, and  should not be read in a specific order. This list is, rather, organised based on the logic that comes to my mind at this moment ! Let's follow my rhythm then...

Ouled El Bahdja

Before February 22nd, 2019, this group's songs would represent a socio-cultural category in Algeria, named "S'hab Lestad", to say those of the stadiums; a category shaped by Algerian society as a group of youth aged between 14 to 24 -sometimes more- years old, keen of soccer, who miss out on school but never on the games of their favorite teams. A group labelled considering their love for soccer. Ouled El Bahdja's music, politically engaged, would represent, truly, the hopes of Algerian youth and would be chanted in Algerian stadiums.

From society, to culture, and surely to politics, La Casa Del Mouradia | no, no, not the other one | became the usual song you will shout on Fridays and Tuesdays during the protests, but also the music you'll stick to on your headphones -air pods for sophistication- La Casa Del Mouradia is in reference to the Algerian presidential palace located in El Mouradia where the biggest deals were smuggled. It tells the history of the political scene in Algeria since 1999 with Bouteflika's first mandate, until the fifth one, WAIT ! It didn't happen, the popular mobilization pushed Bouteflika to resign on April 2nd, 2019 ! It gives an in-depth analysis on the monopoly over power and dictatorship. A bright manner to say much in a few dramatic scenes.

Along with Soolking, this group launched another song titled Liberté, an exclusive anthem of Freedom in tribute to millions of Algerians on the streets and as a call to unity and aspiration for a new beginning . . .

Amazigh Kateb

Amazigh Kateb is the Algerian artist who has always been there, especially for Revolutions. From his albums with his group Gnawa Diffusion to his solo titles, Tagrawla has been constant all around his musical sphere. One month after holy February 22nd, Amazigh has released ROHO, which means in Algerian GO -to simply say go, leave :)-; a critical analysis to the Algerian decision-making and political personalities and as a breath to a new Algeria which will result from this revolution.

Amazigh Kateb has always been at the front lines and knows how to put the words together to shape Algeria in a song. He insisted that the corrupt system must entirely leave, as a response to the popular demands, and give space for power regeneration, insisting on the ability of popular mobilization to bring the change needed in the country.

Hey! But, wait a second . . . Let's talk about one of the greatest aspects of the songs of Revolution, can you guess ? Well, that is Togetherness!

Libérez l'Algérie !

Yes, that's right ! In my beloved Dzayer, it has always been about la liberté, about freedom, and also dignity and social justice. And speaking of freedom and togetherness, a group of engaged Algerian artists, activists and civil society actors came together to liberate, to sing Libérez l'Algérie; what will soon become a major slogan on the 2019 Revolution ! From calls for democracy and justice, to culture and free media, the artists draw an authentic image of the characteristics of this uprising; organization, non-violence and desire for change while insisting on the popular character ! This song is also a call to unity through cultural diversity while respecting individual and collective rights and freedoms.

Artists, activists, civil society chant hardly:

Today the people will liberate, liberate Algeria

Liberate, liberate, liberate Algeria

Today the people will liberate, liberate Algeria

Liberate, liberate, liberate Algeria

Samidoun, samidoun . . .

Tikoubaouine and Chibane come through Samidoun, to say Resistants in reference to Algerian people, to renew commitment to the history of Algeria and to the objectives and the values of the people. Sang in Tamashaq; the amazigh dialect of the Tuareg people, and Algerian dialect, this song of Revolution is an image of inclusiveness and richness of a country-continent like Algeria. These artists cherish non-violence, resistance and resilience to face the relentlessness of the regime.

It goes like this, come on ! Follow the rhythm…

Samidoun, samidoun,

This is a popular invasion

Samidoun, samidoun,

our protests are by millions -millions of protesters-

Samidoun, samidoun,

We will kill -win over- them with our non-violence

Samidoun, samidoun,

Our revolution is civilized

Raja Meziane

Algeria, my beloved Dzayer, is also the resilience and resistance of its Diaspora -tribute to you fellow citizens-, and this is synonymous sometimes to stories of exile and migration. These stories are produced by the dictatorial power of marginalization and political, but also artistic, exclusivity. If there's an artist of the new generation who has suffered the most, it would be Raja Meziane !

Few time after that the ex-silent mummy announced the fifth temptation, Raja released Allo Système !, which means Hello, the regime -commonly named system in Algeria-.  The interesting aspect of this piece is that it brings up the story of Moh, also known in Algeria as Moh Wlid Lhouma, the typical young Algerian suffering from unemployment and corruption and who struggles to find a job. And in Algeria, we have hundreds of thousands of Mohs !

Raja designs the scene by calling the regime. Yes! on the phone! and announcing a popular revolt in the country all while referring  back to the socio-economic situation, criticizing politicians and government leaders. Raja designs the frame of how corruption works around. She comes then to shout out loud the demands of people who are sick of the bunch of thugs ruining around, to literally say:

We want a republic,

People's democracy, not monarchy !

Raja Meziane comes again, about two months later, in Toxic; an update of the political situation where she admits that the regime is currently in a mess trying to figure out a solution to what they call the crisis by manipulating  protesters in order to ensure their longevity and guarantee wealth for their progeny. On the other hand, she brings up hope and courage to the February 22nd Revolution, saying that We have nothing to lose . . .

What did you say ? Oh, no ! Raja is not done yet . . .

This resilient strong woman is the best musical newspaper on politics !

By the official announcement of elections, aka shame elections, of December 12th, she brought to light Rebelle and brought with it the character of Moh one more time, and how many Mohs we have! As a renewal of hope and people's aspirations, Raja ensures the continuum of musical protests and revolution. She insists on the fact that the refusal of these elections is general and that the popular will is the one that remains at the end. One of the most seizing expressions of Rebelle is the following:

Civilian, Popular will. I have an identity; Arab and Amazigh

(Oh yes ! Cultural diversity will always win, I said so, she said so, it is obvious!)

To this point, we should take some time to go through the songs of the Revolution and celebrate again all that we have achieved. But most importantly, we must keep on fighting for dignity and freedom overall, through freedom of expression, music and endless revolutionary playlists.

Hey! My friend was right, we have a great playlist— a great playlist of songs of our revolution :)

Tahya Dzayer !