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HomeAfricaAziza Brahim’s Mawja tops World Music Charts Europe

Aziza Brahim’s Mawja tops World Music Charts Europe

Also in the top 10, at No 4, is Plastic Man by Touki, the collective formed by Senegalese kora player and percussionist Amadou Diagne and Franco-American guitarist Cory Seznec. Ivorian reggae artist Tiken Jah Fakoly is in sixth with his Acoustic album.

Released on Glitterbeat Records, Mawja is Brahim’s fifth album to date. Meaning ‘wave’ in Hassaniya Arabic, the project, co-produced with long-time collaborator Guillem Aguilar, is an ode to her homeland and its struggle for freedom.

Mojo Magazine describes the album as “a take on Afro-blues fashioned from a simple but powerful foundational palette: Saharan and Iberian percussion entwining with stately guitars and warm, enveloping bass.”

“Brahim’s voice, as always, is a wellspring of deep and resonant emotions,” the British music publication adds. “The yearning for homeland. The struggle for freedom. The love for one’s elders. The unfurling of time. Waves of history, waves of sound… beautiful, bewitching, aquiver with timeless sorrow.”

Born and raised in the Sahrawi refugee camps on the border of Algeria and Western Sahara following Morocco’s invasion of Western Sahara in 1975, Brahim’s life has been shaped by immense challenges and unwavering determination.

Her music beautifully captures the essence of her Western Saharan heritage while also reflecting the influences of Barcelona, where she currently resides. As a contemporary sonic poet, she skilfully bridges the gap between her roots and the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Europe, serving as a powerful advocate for the Saharawi people, shedding light on their ongoing struggle for recognition and justice.

A blend of traditional and modern world music, Aziza Brahim’s 2019 album Sahari also topped the World Music Charts in December 2019 and January 2020.

Plastic Man, Touki’s sophomore album released on 1 March through Captain Pouch Records, has been issued in LP format. According to music and film distribution platform Sonic Rendezvous, “Plastic Man infuses East and West African styles and traditions with Appalachian banjo, folk motifs and orchestral arrangements.”

Produced by Jonathan Quarmby, Acoustic reflects Tiken Jah Fakoly’s African identity. According to World Music Central, the album strips away synthetic elements, focusing on organic sounds. Fakoly’s voice, supported by various musicians, creates a comforting ambiance amid life’s challenges, as seen in an accompanying web documentary.

The 14-track collection, primarily sung in French and interspersed with Ivory Coast’s Mandinka language Dyula, sees Fakoly infusing African elements into reggae.

“Acoustic is a comprehensive overview of Tiken Jah Fakoly’s 27-year career. The album, rooted in African sounds, introduces instruments like guitars, ngoni and balafon, enhancing the traditional reggae riddims,” World Music Central writes.