Soprano Amel Brahim-Djelloul’s latest project is a miracle. To climb the steep mountains of Kabylie, the lyrical singer knew how to accompany herself. Because she left with a serious handicap: she did not speak the language. Result: his album The paths that go up (Klarthe Records), inspired by the eponymous book by Mouloud Feraoun, is a successful gamble. She was able to climb the high mountains of Kabylia with disconcerting ease. She knew how to monopolize, inhabit the Kabyle language. To listen to her, one would swear that she never left the region.
From the Djurdjura mountains to Oued Amizour
Of the novel The paths that go uppublished in 1957, she says that “It’s a love story but it also expresses the idea that to go to Kabylia, you have to rise, both physically and in spirit”. Mission successful. So to familiarize herself with the peaks of Kabylie, the soprano relied on four companions, emblematic artists of Kabyle culture: Idir, Djamel Allam, the female group Djurdjura and the opera singer Taos Amrouche. “I grew up with Idir, he brought modernity to our culture and made it known to the whole world, well beyond Greater Kabylie. Djamal Allam is another important singer for me, coming from Little Kabylia”, confides Amel Brahim-Djelloul, mid-January, to his audience at the Studio de l’Ermitage in Paris.
And for companions therefore, the sisters DjurDjura and Taos Amrouche. With them, we travel in time, we go from the past to the present, from the sacred to the profane. “I wanted to take this project a little further in the tradition by looking for Taos Amrouche. Her voice was very singular, strongly influenced by lyrical art. She froze the traditional forms of music such as women lived and made it live in the villages”, she explains. With the DjurDjura group, it’s an ode to femininity and the figure of the mother. With her melodious, high voice, Amel Brahim-Djelloul transports us with a moving lullaby.
The paths that go up is a trip back to childhood, both nostalgic and terribly topical. Amel Brahim-Djelloul, best known for his roles in the opera than for traditional songs, was able to find the right tone.
(The rising paths, Amel Brahim-Djelloul, Klarthe Records, 15 euros)
The artist’s upcoming concerts