EMEL MATHLOUTHI – Tunisia’s Voice of a Generation

Sunday May 14, 2017

8pm show / doors 7pm

Rio Theatre

1660 East Broadway
Vancouver, BC

“Enthralling!” – The New York Times

“She is mesmerizing, from mellifluous sweetness to full-throated power.”
– The F.T.

Tunisia’s prominent Singer/Songwriter Emel Mathlouthi launches her second album “Ensen” produced by her own record label Little Human Records and released on Partisan Records on 24 February 2017. Emels first album, Kelmti Horra (My Word is Free), introduced her groundbreaking marriage of sounds steeped in Tunisia and electronic beats. On Ensen, shes merged to a style thats even more uniquely her own, combining organic and electronic sounds to produce a record that will appeal to any lover of innovative and heartfelt music.

Mathlouthi’s first album since her debut, Kelmti Horra (My Word Is Free), was released in 2012. But by the time that the first album was released, Mathlouthi was already an icon: Her song “Kelmti Horra” was an anthem for a generation of Tunisians and other across north Africa.

“I am the voice those who would not give in,” she sang on “Kelmti Horra.” “I am free and my word is free.” She took those lines from the streets of Tunis, during the revolution that led to the ousting of the dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, all the way to the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in 2015.

In the ensuing years since that potent debut, Mathlouthi has moved to New York and is releasing Ensen later this month on the American indie label Partisan a signal of her bigger ambitions, which spanned working with several producers, including Valgeir Sigurðsson of Sigur Ros and her mainstay collaborator, the French-Tunisian producer Amine Metani, and recording Ensen across seven different countries.

“It’s the astonishing range and sensuousness of Mathlouthi’s voice that is most compelling. There are swoops and growls reminiscent of Bjork and even traces of her goth past as she picks out minimal, reverberant lines on electric guitar.”- The Guardian

Artist website: http://emelmathlouthi.com/


Opening for Emel is Vancouver’s genre-bending rising stars, DÁLAVA, featuring singer Julia Uhlela, guitarist Adam and cellist Peggy Lee.

Guitarist Aram Bajakian and vocalist Julia Ulehla’s Dálava project is an homage to traditional Moravian folk music, taking melodies transcribed over 100 years ago by Ulehla’s great-grandfather, and reinventing them in extremely stirring, avant-garde and post-rock musical language. This deeply personal project is fresh and bold, and the latest project by the prolific Bajakian who has worked with the likes of Lou Reed, John Zorn, and Yusef Lateef. Following in her grandfather’s footsteps, Julia is also an ethnomusicologist and former opera singer who has collaborated on diverse music and theatre projects (Darius Jones, The Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards). The first Dálava record (2014) received critical acclaim and was dubbed “a masterpiece” (Acoustic Music), “a work of creativity and imagination par excellence” (Inner Magazine), and described as “combining the richness of the old with the freshness and boldness of the new like no one else has done before” (Something Else Reviews). Dálava’s second album The Book of Transfigurations (release date: April 2017) delves into even deeper territory—conjuring ancestors, animating spirits, and crafting musical microcosms around the gem-like folk melodies. Though rooted in an avant, urban sonic language, this fractured village music channels the voices of a bygone era.

“One defining trend of the current moment is that of musicians visiting the past in order to invent the future, and there’s no better example than this fantastic fusion of rural Moravian melody and urban improv. Working with material collected by Julia Ulehla’s great-grandfather during the early 20th century, the singer and her guitarist husband, Aram Bajakian, have arrived at music that’s deeply affecting and powerfully new.” —Alex Varty, Georgia Straight

ARTIST WEBSITE: http://www.dalavamusic.com/