Planet Malek

21/02/19Watch Habibi Funk's Short Documentary On The Legendary Algerian Musician Ahmed Malek

We love everything Berlin-based imprint Habibi Funk and main man Jannis Stürtz have been creating over the past years, including their notorious mixes of Arabic Funk. Back in 2016, as part of their globally celebrated reissue series, they released an anthology of legendary Algerian musician, multi-instrumentalist and composer Ahmed Malek's beautiful film music, which you can still stream/buy over on their Bandcamp page

"Arabic records have become my number one hobby and luckily I got my hands on a copy of Ahmed Malek’s 'Musique Originale De Films' album. I already knew some of the tracks but listening to the music the way it was originally released, and not as a crappy Youtube version, made me fall in love with Malek’s compositions all the more. It manages to create this very special mood: melancholic and reflective, emotional and touching, but never depressing. Even without having seen any of the pictures created for this, it immediately brings visuals to one’s imagination," writes Jannis Stürtz. 

Haunted by Malek's sounds, Jannis teamed up with film maker and DJ Paloma Colombe and travelled to the late Ahmed Malek's hometown of Algiers, where they met with family and friends to create a wonderful short documentary on one of Algeria's most important musical figures and cultural representatives: 

"Ahmed Malek was born on March, 6th 1932 at Bordj El Kiffan, Algiers. He was the oldest son of a family of 3 brothers and one sister. He went to work at a young age in factories to help his father to raise the family. His mother died when he was 12. It was then that decided he wanted to become a musician, and after graduating school he studied at the Algerian Conservatory. He gained recognition for his craft from an early stage and won several prizes and medals nationally and internationally. He was the conductor of the 'Algerian Television Orchestra' for many decades and represented his country at international events such as the Expo In Japan, Canada, Cuba and Spain. During his time as an active composer he wrote the music for dozens of movies, television shows and documentaries. Then, in the late 90’s, his health deteriorated. He passed on the 24th of July, 2008, at his home in El Mouradio, Algiers," Jannis explains.   

The 20-minute film "Planet Malek" released in January and can be viewed via Apple Music as well as on YouTube (below). It is a touching and intimate portrait of a man, whose music remains. "He's not dead," says former neighbor and friend Hadjab Abdenour. "Artists like Djamel Allam or Rachid Taha, they are not dead." And it is true. Through his music, Ahmed Malek is eternal and through this invaluable documentary and reissues of his music, future generations will be able to rediscover his undeniable magic.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom