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Djawla

01/02/2022Algerian Mandole Virtuoso Anouar Kaddour Chérif Releases Dazzling Debut Solo Album

This is a first for us, in the sense that it is the first of February, the first we've heard of Switzerland-based multi-instrumentalist Anouar Kaddour Chérif, but also the first time we get to feature the Algerian mandole, an instrument resembling the more widely known mandolin. It also happens to be Chérif's first solo album, drawing on his Algerian roots yet written and recorded in exile, accompanied by Clément Meunier on bass clarinet, Hannes Junker on drums and Antoine Brochot on double bass. 

Originally from Sétif, some three years ago, at the age of 24, Anouar Kaddour Chérif left his native Algeria, leading an itinerant life before settling in Switzerland, a place he describes as "a refuge for his ear and musical fingers to find multiple possibilities of expression." Steeped in the "classical musical traditions of North Africa," having performed and honed his talents with "various ensembles in Eastern Algeria," Chérif nurtured a deep "love of Arab-Andalusian music," which he now reexamines in a "contemporary jazz setting." 

"Djawla" is a sublime, wonderfully crafted display of virtuosity, free-spirited and evasive, evoking dazzling, fleeting imagery, then leaving listeners to wonder, whether what they just saw, if only for moment, was even real. "[Chérif]'s singular musical vision," translates to an infinitely imaginative yet equally poignant "exploration [of the] intriguing relationship between Arabic music and jazz," that may even prove to be cathartic. "I needed to blindly attach myself to dreams, to people, to memories. It was my way of showering the little seed of hope I had left and softening the harshness of my daily life," he describes.

You can watch the official music video to "Call Of The Night" below and sample the full album in the player below. "Djawla" is out now on Riverboat Records and a true musical blessing!

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom