LABESS - The voice is free
It is on the road to exile that the group Labess meets its musical identity. Plural, free,alive. Nourished by the Algerian roots and the vast journey of the artist NedjimBouizzoul. Labess opens a singular musical path beyond borders.
Labess is a journey. It begins in Algiers, in the working-class district of Hussein-Dey. Nedjim Bouizzoul grew upsurrounded by the chaâbi music of his musical "big brothers". Carried by the freedom with which music travels, andthe Arabic language when it frees itself from literary codes. He is thirsty for elsewhere. Nedjim is looking for hisvoice, his way. Deep inside him, a call resounds, that of his guitar and of North America. It was with his family, hismother and his sisters that he migrated to Quebec. He was 18 years old. There, he plays in the street or in the metro,to earn enough money to have a coffee or to eat. Nedjim Bouizzoul defines himself as a street musician. Self-taught,he discovers the concert cafés and who says journey says meeting. Then came his first musical collaborations.Encouraged, he understands by playing with others that the exile lived intimately is conjugated in the plural. This isthe birth of Labess, the name of the group and of the first album, in French: Tout va bien (2007). A music open to thefour winds of the world: African sounds, gypsy rumba, flamenco...
In this universal proposal, the chaâbi is always present, like this question: who am I? The albums Identité (2012) andLa Route (2016) bear witness to this trajectory, where the origin catches up with us, rubs up against the outside andfrees itself. The roots come to the surface, in exile. The voice rises in several languages, Algerian dialectal Arabic,Spanish, French. Deep and committed. Nedjim lived for two years in Colombia where the sounds vibrated with thegreat history of the first African slaves exiled in Latin America. The music reveals to him the roots that the Arab andSpanish cultures share in depth. His encounters with the geniuses of Colombian music stirred his creativity, whichgave birth to this fourth album in 2021. Like a return to his roots. It is called Yemma (mother). A return to themotherland, which cradled him in chaâbi. Starting point of the exile. He pays tribute to his mother who sacrificedeverything to give him a chance to fly away. Like the bird in Ammar Ezahi's song, he remembers the time when hewas free. The journey continues, and Labess is euphoric in North Africa and everywhere else. Like in France, wherehe has been anchored for several years. The street musician is great. And his voice carries far into the horizon.Finally, to the question who am I? Nedjim answers: "a little from each country I visit, a little from each musician Imeet". A plural and intimate music. Inhabited. Free. (Photo : Margot Luciarte)