Ya Hasra

02/07/2024Akuphone Releases A Charming Compilation Of Almost Forgotten Jewish-Tunisian Jewels, Originals & Reworks

Reporting back from cold and rainy Berlin, we direct our attention to the Maghreb region and Cheb Gero's Paris-based imprint Akuphone. The label recently dropped a compilation of rare tracks of Jewish-Tunisian origin to go with timely reworks by DJ and producer Sharouh. Seeing as we lack sufficient insight into the provenance of these tracks, here's a quote from the release notes providing some welcome context: 

"In 1940, over 100,000 Jewish men and women lived in Tunisia. Thirty years later, no more than 10,000 remained. Today, only a few of them have resisted the historical forces that dispersed their families and their neighbours. In spite of this exile, the thousand-year-old presence of Tunisian Jews has left an eternal and delightful imprint on the country’s landscapes and its heritage - cultural, culinary and, of course, musical. Habiba Msika, Louisa Tounsia, Raoul Journo and El Kahlaoui Tounsi, represented here on the record’s side A, are four legendary artists, narrators of a history that they never ceased to sing on both shores of the Mediterranean sea, along with the waves of migration. On side B, [...] Sharouh revisits their songs, plays with their rhythms and sounds in a series of reworks that reclaim this heritage and breathe new life into it."

While the originals deliver a mystical blast from the past, Sharouh's reworks translate the original works into more danceable versions for modern-day audiences to move and groove to. That being said, we are happy to include this document of Tunisian cultural diversity here on Greedy, thus (hopefully) preserving it for generations to come and underlining its inherent value. "Ya Hasra", by the way, is used to express nostalgia as in 'the good old times'.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom