Iconic Name of Folk Music: Souad Massi

Iconic Name of Folk Music: Souad Massi

Known as Tracy Chapman of Magreb, Souad Massi, rising like a star in contemporary world music with her inspiration from folk music and her guitar and proving that the music coming to the international arena from Algeria is not limited to Raï, meets with her fans in İstanbul on the CRR stage. At the concert that will take place on March 10, Massi will sing songs from her new album Oumniya (My Wish).

In her 6th album Oumniya, where she blends folk and pop melodies, Massi, who did not get far from her roots and the traditional music of Algeria, made her songs by feeding on the process that her country has been through, political issues, love, and freedom. Massi, who sings two songs in French in her album, which consists of 13 songs, mostly in Arabic and written by Massi, used acoustic guitar, violin, darbuka, as well as mandole, Algerian traditional Kabyle and châabi music instrument. Massi, who gave concerts on the most prestigious stages from Olympia to Casino de Paris, won the Victoire de la Musique Award in 2006.

We talked with the artist who gave concerts in Australia and New Zealand as well as in Europe before the İstanbul concert.

Do you recall the first moment you took the stage, your first concert? How did you feel?

Of course, I remember! It was in Algeria. I had incredible stage fright. But I was also very excited and happy. Then everything went very well and it was a great moment for me.

What’s the best thing about being on stage?

Being on stage means pure pleasure for me. I love being with my musician friends and sharing my feelings with my audience.

What were the turning points in your career as a musician?

Coming to France for the first time was a big step for my music career. Afterwards, I signed a contract and became a Universal Music artist and released my first album… I won several awards and crossed paths with talented artists such as Paul Weller, Gabriel Yared, Marc Lavoine, Quincy Jones. I also enjoyed working with Serkan Çağrı.

How did your coming from a multicultural family affect your music?

Being multicultural gives me more freedom. I can easily go from one type of music to another.

You are known as “Tracy Chapman” of Magreb, you are compared to Joan Baez. Who are among your music idols?

It is a great honor for me to be compared to these magnificent artists. I am very fond of names like Leonard Cohen, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Kenny Rogers.

So, Turkish tunes? Are you familiar with Turkish music?

I have been familiar with Turkish music and singers like İbrahim Tatlıses since my childhood. I like your musical tradition and it is a part of my life.

What are your impressions of Turkey and of the listeners in Turkey?

Turkey is one of my favorite countries that follows me… Turkish people and tastes, in terms of sensitivity and musical culture, affect me too.

How do you feel about your İstanbul concert? Can you give us some information about your repertoire?

I’ll meet once more my listeners in Turkey and I’ll tell them I’m very excited about my newest song. I hope they enjoy listening as much as I enjoy singing. I always look forward to coming to İstanbul.