Western Saharan singer Aziza Braheim, who developed her musical talents and participated in major cultural events in
Growing up, Algerian musician Hasna El-BÉcharia’s father banned her from playing the guitar.
“He said that it was only for men,” she said. “I used to wait until he is out and practice the guitar on the rooftop of our house.”
Radiating energy, El-BÉcharia took the stage at
The theme originates from a sentence usually said in
“Instead of looking for the King or the Jack, we are looking for the Queen,” said
Every concert during the festival, which ran from 10 to 25 July, featured Egyptian opening acts, including Nesma Herky,
For the main acts, however, Moustafa said the festival aims to bring geographic diversity to its line-up. This year the festival brought together singers from
The Hayy Festival organisers asked El-BÉcharia to play the guembri, a three-stringed desert lute, also known as the sinter. The instrument is commonly used in gnawa music, based on African Islamic ritual spiritual songs and poetry.
Born in Bechar, a desert area in
She broke cultural barriers when she travelled to
Since then she has been one of the most prominent figures in the Gnawa music scene. Her status has seen her tour
In addition to the guembri and the acoustic and electric guitars, El-BÉcharia also plays the oud, bendir, and banjo. She mixes the traditional songs of the desert with electronic music, creating a distinctive style of Saharan blues.
At the festival, she took the role of the lead guitarist, supported by her band members, who played different percussion instruments, varying from drums to Krakebs to tabla.
Once El-BÉcharia put down the guembri and took over the electric guitar, the band’s rhyme started to become louder and more appealing to the fans who answered her call to join her on stage and dance. The performance brought the audience to its feet, and inspired calls for several encores.
Friday, the festival’s finale featured Western Saharan singer Aziza Braheim, who developed her musical talents and participated in major cultural events in
Braheim started her act supporting the calls of the Saharan people for independence. Performing for the first time in
Born and brought up in the Saharawi refugee camps, she performed one of her songs lagi (I am a Refugee), expressing the frustration of being raised in refugee camps. She dedicated the song to the Palestinian people and refugees all over the world.
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