Music & Words | Abdelli

Abdelli is a singer, author and composer from Kabylia, Algeria. He was born into a modest family in the village of Behalil-Afire in Kabylia (Algeria) under the French occupation during Algeria’s independance war.
He arrived in the town of Dellys as a young child, as his parents fled their native village into a forced exile. Dellys is well-known throughout Algeria for its fish specialties and its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea. Throughout his childhood, Abdelli was immersed in this love of the wide skies and the open sea, of the fishery and the manifold scents that accompany them.
He started to make music at a very early age and built his first guitar with his own hands. After he could play this instrument, he was introduced to the mandolin by chaabi master Chaïd Moh-Esguir.

After a rather difficult start in music, Abdelli finally could enjoy the release of his first album entitled Ayem yema in the mid-80s. Yet, like so many of these Kabylian singer-songwriters whose poetry is meant to awaken people’s consciences, Abdelli suffers from the severe political and bureaucratic obstacles to expressing himself freely in his own language ... He then chooses to go into exile, far away from his country and his family and friends.

In the mid-80s, Abdelli moves to Brussels, Belgium and releases his album Abdelli. In 1989 he starts recording his album New Moon, released in May 1995 on the prestigious British label Real World. This album release really starts the international career of Abdelli: he is being invited to perform with his band all over the world, from England to Canada, the USA, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg ... He is invited by Yehudi Menuhin and Ravi Shankar to participate in the festival ‘From the guitar to the sitar’ Brussels. He is also invited by Peter Gabriel to play the support part in Paris on the presentation of his latest album UP in September 2002.
Abdelli gets involved in numerous collaborations with artists such as Loreena McKennitt, Natacha Atlas en Ramzi Hussain
In November 2000, Abdelli decides to travel to the island of Réunion in search of his spiritual master Cheikh El Hasnaoui.
In 2001, he composes the original music of the film ‘Au-delà de Gibraltar’, about the fate of Moroccan immigrants in Belgium.
In 2003 he releases his second album on the Real World label. ‘Among Brothers’ was recorded on four continents : in Cape Verde, Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Canada and Belgium. The album is chosen as ‘Best album from 2003' in the world music category by the Belgian newspaper Le Soir. The release of this album is followed by tours around the world that lead Abdelli and his musicians to Pakistan, Morocco, the USA, Canada, France, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and to major festivals such as the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Festival Grand Performances Los Angeles, the Small festival Toronto, Womad, Dranouter Festival, the Festival of freedom in Brussels, Couleur Café in Brussels and many more.

In 2009 Abdelli stops touring and travelling in order to take care of his family and to finish his new studio album without any outside pressure.
Destiny is released in October 2011.

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