Boomkat Product Review:
Dead cool but fervent Algerian pop from the ‘60s/‘70s, rife with killer Chaabi breaks and twists on rock ’n roll and French yé-yé - the first compilation dedicated to Mohammad Mazouin, and including songs impossible to find elsewhere
“Mohamed Mazouni, born January 4, 1940 in Blida (The City of Roses), a city which had just turned twenty. His memory dragged around a lot of catchy refrains by Rabah Driassa and Abderrahmane Aziz, also natives of Blida, or by 'asri (modern music) masters Bentir or Lamari. He began his singing career in those years, chosing bedoui as a style. In June 1965, Algeria adopted a Soviet-style profile where everything was planned, even music. Mazouni, he followed his path, recording a few popular tunes, but he also was in the mood for traveling beyond the Mediterranean. During the 1950s and 1960s, Mohamed was dumbfounded by Oum Kalsoum's songs and scopitones. Fully immersed, he soaked up the songs of Dahmane El Harrachi, Slimane Azem, Akli Yahiaten, or Cheikh El Hasnaoui, but also those from the crazy years of twist and rock n' roll as embodied by Johnny Hallyday, Les Chaussettes Noires, or Les Chats Sauvages, not to mention Elvis Presley.
Between 1970 and 1990, he had a series of hits. Mazouni, a dandy shattered by his century and always all spruced up who barely performed on stage, had greatly benefited from the impact of scopitones, the ancestors of music videos. His strength lay in Arabic lyrics all his compatriots could understand, and catchy melodies accompanied by violin, goblet drum, qanun, tar (a small tambourine with jingles), lute, and sometimes electric guitar on yé-yé compositions. Like a politician, Mazouni drew on all themes knowing that he would nail it each time. This earned him the nickname "Polaroid singer". Mohamed Mazouni crossed the 1960s and 1970s with his dark humor and unifying mix of local styles. Besides his trivial topics, he also denounced racism and the appalling condition of immigrant workers. However, his way of telling of high school girls, cars and pleasure places earned him the favors of France's young migrant zazous. At the end of the 1990s, the distribution of Michèle Collery and Anaïs Prosaïc's documentary on Arabic and Berber scopitones highlighted Mazouni's importance. Mazouni did not stop singing and even had a few local hits, always driven by a "wide targeting" ambition.”