Houria Aïchi grew up in a rugged mountain region of Algeria at the edge of the Sahara, and encountered the sacred chants of the local people at an early age. When the women assembled in the courtyard to sing together, Aïchi joined them and soaked up their songs. The Algerian singer now brings this music to the international concert stage. She displays respect for the centuries-old traditions, but also takes an observant (female) look at the future.
Her latest album, »Chants mystiques d’Algérie«, is a collection of Islamic chants as sung by the simple rural population. The texts do not stem from the Koran, they were written by anonymous authors in villages and Sufi fraternities, and have been passed down orally over the centuries. Unlike the strictly prescribed chants with which, for example, the muezzin calls the faithful to prayer, these are songs of everyday life, pieces sung at festivals, weddings or funerals. »They express a deep faith,« says Aïchi, »and I want to concentrate on their mystical aspect, presenting them in all their simplicity«. For her, this project represents a return to her first musical experiences in the community. But she also sees it as a tribute to the women of Algeria and as an ode to liberty.