Emel Mathlouthi in 2012
January 11, 1982 |
|Occupation(s)||Singer songwriter music producer|
|Labels||Partisan Records, Little Human Records|
Emel Mathlouthi (Arabic: آمال المثلوثي) (born January 11, 1982) is a Tunisian singer-songwriter best known for her protest songs "Ya Tounes Ya Meskina" ("Poor Tunisia") and "Kelmti Horra" ("My Word is Free"), which became anthems for the Tunisian revolution. Her first studio album, also titled Kelmti Horra, was released worldwide by Harmonia Mundi in 2012 to critical acclaim. Her second album, "Ensen, was released by Partisan Records in 2017, also to comsiderable acclaim.
Early life and career
Emel Mathlouthi first began writing songs as a student. Frustrated by the lack of opportunities and the apathy of her classmates and family, she began writing political songs such as "Ya Tounes Ya Meskina" ("Poor Tunisia"). In 2006 she was a finalist in the Prix RMC Moyen-Orient Musique competition. She decided to move to Paris, France, in 2008 when the Tunisian government banned her songs from radio and TV. Although banned from Tunisian airwaves, bootlegs of her live performances in France circulated on the internet in Tunisia. After the death of Mohamed Bouazizi she dedicated an Arabic version of the Joan Baez song "Here's To You" to him. She was recorded on the Avenue Habib Bourguiba singing "Kelmti Horra" to protesters and it became a viral video. She has given concerts in Egypt and Iraq, and performed in Canada at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival and the Festival du Monde Arabe de Montréal. At the beginning of July 2012, she gave a groundbreaking concert in Baghdad, Iraq. On July 28 she gave a concert at the Sfinks Festival in Belgium, where she received a standing ovation for her cover of the Leonard Cohen song "Hallelujah". In 2013, after her first concert in Cairo since the revolution, Ahram Online described her as "The Fairuz of her generation". She opened for Dead Can Dance in the festival Les nuits de Fourvière in Lyon and performed at the WOMAD Festival at Charlton Parkin the UK. Israeli authorities refused to let her enter Ramallah to perform, so she sang in front of a camera in Jordan. The small show was broadcast to the Palestinian audience in a theater in Ramallah.
In 2015 she was invited to perform at both the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony and The Nobel Peace Prize Concert along with A-ha and Aurora, where she performed two renditions of her song "Kelmti Horra," one accompanied only by a guitarist, Karim Attoumane, and the other with a full orchestra and chorus. The concert was hosted by Jay Leno, who praised her in the concert press conference as being the first Arabic-language singer to catch his attention.
Debut album: Kelmti Horra (My Word Is Free)
Emel Mathlouthi released her debut, Kelmti Horra, in January 2012. The album was influenced by Joan Baez, Massive Attack, and Björk. As a politically aware musician, the songs in the album have made promising duty to speak out on any injustice that Emel has witnessed about her beloved Tunisia. While she sings about humanity and a better world, the success of this album has made her to reach many more people in different parts of the world. As the song, "Kelmti Horra" (My Word is Free), was considered as "the anthem of the Arab Spring," it has been Emel's most famous song so far. The outstanding success of this songs led her to perform the song on December 11, 2015, during the award ceremony of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, which was awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet.
Second album: Ensen (Human)
Ensen (Human), the sophomore album of Emel was released on February 24, 2017 by Partisan Records. The album was recorded in seven countries including Iceland, Sweden, France, and the US. Producers of the album include the former Björk collaborator, Icelandic producer Valgeir Sigurðsson and her main collaborator French/Tunisian producer Amine Metani. The first single off the album, "Ensen Dhaif" (Human, Helpless Human), was named as "best new track" by Pitchfork on February 16, 2016. As Mathlouthi explains, the song is dedicated to the "people that have to carry the weight and all the struggles so that a very small percentage can enjoy the power."
Mathlouthi lists her primary musical influences as Joan Baez, Marcel Khalife and Sheikh Imam. Her other musical influences include Janis Joplin, Sinéad O’Connor, Led Zeppelin, James Blake, Susanne Sundfør, Bob Dylan, Roger Waters and Fuck Buttons.
|July 17, 2010||Arles||France|
|May 26, 2012||Angoulême||France|
|June 18, 2012||Bursa||Turkey|
|June 19, 2012||Konya||Turkey|
|June 21, 2012||Tunis||Tunisia|
|June 22, 2012||Lisbon||Portugal|
|June 24, 2012||Audincourt||France|
|June 28, 2012||Montgiscard||France|
|June 30, 2012||Châlons-en-Champagne||France|
|July 3, 2012||Baghdad||Iraq|
|July 7, 2012||Rudolstadt||Germany|
|July 8, 2012||Rudolstadt||Germany|
|July 10, 2012||Stuttgart||Germany|
|July 11, 2012||Hanover||Germany|
|July 14, 2012||Vancouver||Canada|
|July 17, 2012||Montreal||Canada|
|July 19, 2012||Robion||France|
|July 21, 2012||Barcelona||Spain|
|July 22, 2012||Mèze||France|
|July 23, 2012||Grenoble||France|
|July 28, 2012||Boechout||Belgium|
|August 3, 2012||Floreffe||Belgium|
|August 4, 2012||Brest||France|
|August 19, 2012||Zurich||Switzerland|
|September 22, 2012||Meaux||France|
|September 23, 2012||Barcelona||Spain|
|January 28, 2013||Paris||France|
|March 12, 2013||Meylan||France|
|March 16, 2013||Balzac||France|
|March 21, 2013||Niort||France|
|March 22, 2013||Montlouis-sur-Loire||France|
|March 23, 2013||Ludwigshafen||Germany|
|March 30, 2013||Saint-Brieuc||France|
|April 2, 2013||Verdun||France|
|April 4, 2013||Vire||France|
|April 5, 2013||Brest||France|
|April 13, 2013||Marseille||France|
|April 18, 2013||Innsbruck||Austria|
|April 19, 2013||Bregenz||Austria|
|April 26, 2013||Cairo||Egypt|
|May 10, 2013||Ljubljana||Slovenia|
|May 16, 2013||Istanbul||Turkey|
|May 24, 2013||Rabat||Morocco|
|June 14, 2013
|June 22, 2013||Miramas||France|
|June 27, 2013||Moissac||France|
|July 28, 2013||WOMAD||UK|
|June 30, 2013||Amman||Jordan|
|July 1, 2013||Ramallah||Palestine|
|March 8, 2014||Adelaide||Australia|
- Contributing artist
- Varty, Alexander (July 12, 2012). "Vancouver Folk Music Festival performers use music to make a difference". Vanvouver Free Press. Archived from the original on July 14, 2012. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
- Curiel, Jonathan (May 9, 2012). "Emel Mathlouthi: The Arab Singer Who Inspired Tunisians in Revolution". KQED. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
- Caroline Kulsum and Noor Al Khatib (25 June 2011). "Minstrels of the Arab Revolution". Gulf News. Archived from the original on 9 November 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
Emel Mathlouthi, a Tunisian musician is yet another protester who asks for equality and tranquility in her native country: The morphine we've been injected with for 23 years is no longer enough to dull our pain. She had always said that one of the artists that she looked up to the most was Bob Dylan, she considered him to be her idol.
- "1e édition du Prix RMC Moyen-Orient Musique" (in French). RFI Musique. June 16, 2006. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
- Westall, Sylvia (July 4, 2012). "Voice of Tunisian spring calls for justice, equality". Reuters. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
- "A Song for Bouazizi by Emel Mathlouthi". France 24 (in Arabic). January 18, 2011. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
- Daniel Gumbiner (2012). Now That We Have Tasted Hope: Voices from the Arab Spring. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 22. ISBN 1614520208.
- Mathlouthi, Amel. "My word is Free, English Subtitled (Tunisian revolution)". youtube.com.
- "Emel Mathlouthi, le jasmin et la voix". Mars Actu (in French). July 20, 2012. Archived from the original on April 3, 2012. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
- Westall, Sylvia (July 11, 2012). "After Saddam and war, Iraq's musicians look to home". Reuters. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
- Crooijmans, Charlie. ""In France I found my Tunisian identity"- an interview with Emel Mathlouthi". NewsAndNoise.Wordpress.com (self-publicised). Archived from the original on 10 November 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
- Pelly, Jenn (September 14, 2016). "Why the World Needs Emel Mathlouthi’s Anthems Against the Dictatorship Machine". Pitchfork.
- "Store | Partisan Records". shop.partisanrecords.com. Retrieved 2016-12-05.
- Olbrich, Suze (February 24, 2017). "Emel Mathlouthi: ‘It’s important to be out there as a creative woman from a Muslim culture'". The Guardian.
- Neil Spencer, "Emel Mathlouthi: Kelmti Horra – review", The Observer, February 19, 2012.