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Cheikh Arab Bouyezgarene - A Yemma (mandole cover by James)

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A few days ago, I listened to this piece of music by Cheikh Arab Bouyezgarene, and I was completely enchanted after hearing the first couple of notes, so I decided to interpret it.

Cheikh Arab Bouyezgarene, commonly called Cheikh Aarav, was an Algerian musician from Djemâa-Saharidj, Kabylia, born 27th of May 1917, died 2nd of April, 1988.

He spent his childhood in his native village, about thirty kilometers east of Tizi Ouzou. In 1942, he left for Algiers and met El Hadj Mhamed El Anka, joining his musical group. He immigrated to France in 1946 and met several artists such as Cheikh El Hasnaoui, Slimane Azem, Bahia Farah and Fatma Zohra. In 1950, Cheikh Arab Bouyezgarene published his first song, “Anfas Anfas” themed on the condition of an Algerian immigrant in France. The theme of immigration and exile was a very popular approach by the singers of the time, and his first song achieved unprecedented notoriety; being taken up by many singers to this day. After having interpreted several essential titles and releasing one album, he died on April 2, 1988 and rests in the cemetery of Massy in France.

From the old photographs that I’ve seen of him, it appears that he played a mandocello which was probably tuned as a mandole using the mandole gauges of strings. I’m fascinated by this as it opens even more doors and it furthers the reasons why I admire Algerian and Kabyle musicians.

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Musique kabyle
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