Frontline World

FRANCE: Play it Again, Maurice, May 2003

Related Features THE STORY
Synopsis of "Play it Again, Maurice"

Selected by dj Cheb i Sabbah

In the Mix

Historical and cultural context

North African music, France and Algeria




Links and Resources

• North African Music
• More Musical Hybrids
• Ethnic and Religious Conflicts in France Today
• Background on Algeria and France

North African Music

Piranha Records: Maurice El Medioni
Maurice El Medioni released Café Oran in 1999 through independent world music label Piranha Records. The music is a unique blend of jazz phrasing, Cuban rhythms and Arabic sounds. The Web site features a biography and discography of the 74-year-old Jewish Algerian "pianist oriental," from his days playing in Oran nightclubs in the 1930s to his current life in Marseilles, France.

Introduction to Raï Music of Algeria
The online project from the University of Texas at Austin offers a concise introduction to raï music. The site includes definitions of Arabic musical terms and three raï music samples, with lyrics in both Arabic and English.

Music of Algeria: Selected Recordings
This Web site from the Middle East Studies Association presents the broad range of cultural influence that comprises Algerian music today. Author Dwight Reynolds looks at some of the musical styles and genres that have arisen out of the Algerian melting pot, including Andalusian, Constantinian, raï and malouf.

Focus on the World: Tunisia
Focus on the World is an online multimedia magazine providing facts, pictures and sounds from Mediterranean countries. Its section on Tunisia offers an explanation of malouf, a popular musical tradition originating from Andalusian Spain during the Moorish Empire and now incorporated into various styles of world music. Listen to the traditional sounds of lutes (ouds), violins and sitars in the malouf music samples included on this site.

From French Raï to Algerian Rap
Writing on the German Web site House of World Culture, Thomas Burkhalter observes that although raï music has become popular in France and elsewhere around the globe, young musicians in Algeria are adopting the ways of rap to get their message out.

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More Musical Hybrids is an online world music magazine founded in 1998 to bridge the gap between traditional and mixed-culture music and media. In both English and French, this nonprofit Web site offers multimedia features, links to world music festivals, interviews with artists and reviews of the latest in world music.

World Music Exposition 2003, Andalusia, Spain
The World Music Exposition (WOMEX) is the premier networking point for artists of world, folk, traditional and diasporic music. The fifth annual WOMEX will be held in October in the Andalusian capital of Seville, the ancestral home of raï music.

Afropop Worldwide
Afropop Worldwide is a National Public Radio program that celebrates African roots in music around the globe. Its Web site offers a searchable database of artists, music genres and regional styles of music. Included are numerous links to online world music magazines and independent music labels.

Hybrid and Postcolonial Music
For a lesson in postcolonial ethnomusicology, visit this Web site from Emory University. It discusses the emergence of hybrid forms of music that grew out of colonialism, including those by traditional music groups that developed messages of revolt and those that incorporated new elements from the West.

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Ethnic and Religious Conflicts in France Today

UNESCO: Djazir, the Year for Algeria in France
The United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization has declared 2003 to be "Djazair [Arabic for Algeria and Algiers], the year of Algeria." This site is not available in English. Choose from French, Arabic or Amazigh, a common language of Berber culture.

"France's Algerians: Divided Loyalty"
With Islamic extremism still wielding a tight grip on Algeria and far-right extremism on the rise in France, many Algerians living in France feel growing conflict about where their allegiances lie. (BBC News, May 6, 2002)

"A Maze of Identities for the Muslims of France"
The New York Times reports that France's Muslim population has risen to 7 percent. The Mediterranean city of Marseilles, which has a large North African population, has a 17 percent Muslim population. (April 9, 2003) (Abstract; purchase required)

"Anti-Semitism: Beyond the Bounds"
The Department for Jewish Zionist Education of the Jewish Agency for Israel reprints this report that the resurgence of anti-Semitism in France is indicative of deteriorating relations between Jews and Muslims. Poverty among Algerian immigrants in France, the report says, has resulted in social unrest, manifesting in such episodes as the violent France/Algeria soccer match in January 2003.

American Jewish Committee Report
At the end of 2002, France and Europe were experiencing the highest number of anti-Semitic incidents since World War II. This report cites numerous acts of violence against French Jews and Jewish institutions in France.

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Background on Algeria and France

Algeria Watch International
This site is a comprehensive guide to news and analysis about Algeria, Algerians living in France and abroad, and current Algerian politics and business. It includes extensive links to news sources, human rights reports, organizations, government, civilian and academic institutions, and much more

CIA World Factbook: Algeria
The CIA World Factbook on Algeria provides up-to-date information about the country's government, geography, economy, people, industry and foreign relations.

"Algeria and France: A Tense Relationship"
In 2000, French president Jacques Chirac refused to apologize for tortures and massacres committed by French forces during Algeria's war of independence. Relations between France and Algeria seemed to improve when Abdelaziz Bouteflika was elected president of Algeria in 1999. But France, as Algeria's closest Western partner, is still seen as complicit in human rights abuses, this time carried out by the Algerian military against insurgents. (BBC News, Feb. 2, 2001)

Algeria Interface
Algeria Interface offers news and analysis about current Algerian politics. This story, an interview with Ahmed Ben Bella, the first prime minister of independent Algeria, looks at the relationship between France and Algeria.

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