Of Algerian descent, HK, alias Kaddour Hadadi, turned to world music after being one of two singers in the group Ministères des Affaires populaires. It was then, in 2009, that he founded HK et les Saltimbanks. Their first album, Citoyen du monde, came out in 2011 and included the track “On lâche rien,” which would be taken up at numerous demonstrations, notably in Québec during the 2012 student protests known as the Maple Spring. There would follow two more albums, Les temps modernes in 2012 and Rallumeurs d’étoiles in 2015. The group blends blues, chaâbi and reggae, and their committed lyrics raise the topics of social struggle, inequality and the environment.
L’empire de papier is the title of HK’s new album. The Saltimbanks band is not on all parts of this new work, with its more personal tones, but they nevertheless all come together on one track, “Ce soir nous irons au bal,” following the November 13 attacks in Paris. This track is a reflection of the album: a musical resistance, somewhere between poetry and dance, commitment and fellowship. World, folk and reggae accents are a little more evident on this album, which is presented on stage with some of the old Saltimbanks and female choruses that open new musical horizons.