Labess

Algérie World music

Biography :

Born in Algeria, Nedjim Bouizzoul grew up under the influence of a musician father with whom he learned to play guitar. As a teenager, he joined the group Fiesta Day. He was inspired, among others, by Algerian singer Kamel Messaoudi. Then his family moved to Québec in 2003. After playing for a time in the Montréal metro and being noticed for his talent, he succeeded in founding the group Labess just a year after arriving in la Belle Province.

The group quickly achieved success, performing in many festivals or as warm-up acts at concerts by Rachid Taha. Labess’s style skilfully blends traditional North African musical styles such as chaâbi and gnawa with Gypsy rumba and flamenco beats, adding a touch of folk and samba. Nedjim Bouizzoul sings as much in Arabic as in French or Spanish, and his expressive poetry-filled compositions tell stories of exile and identity, hope or distress. For example, the very first song composed by Nedjim is titled Pleurer en silence (Crying in silence) and tells of how his youth was marked by Algeria’s Dark Decade and the rise of terrorism.

They recorded an initial album in 2007, Tout va bien (All is going well), a literal translation of what their name Labess means in Arabic. Their disc was nominated at the Gala ADISQ and at the Canadian Music Awards. A second album came out in 2012, Identité. Percussions, brass and guitar cohabit harmoniously and vibrantly, and the compositions aptly evoke freedom, the fight against oppression, cultural diversity and the Arab Spring.

Labess has just brought out its third album, La route (The Road), in the spring of 2016. Offering musical richness and just as impressive a density of tales under a suggestive title, the group leads us on a journey from North Africa to Andalusia by way of South America and India. The compositions succeed in being tender, rousing or liberating while remaining deeply rooted in the often painful reality of today’s world. The group currently consists of Nedjim Bouizzoul on guitar and vocals, Titi Sono on guitar, Benoit Hazebrouck on bass, Tarek Maaroufi on percussions, Yvan Djaouti on trumpet and Julien Oury on trombone.

Labess

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Concerts of the artist: