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Follow Friday Artist: Idir

Follow Friday is a beautiful Twitter tradition for ranking worthy accounts within the community. We decided to adopt this tradition in order to showcase artists that we appreciate, artists that inspire us and echo our spirit with their art. Some of these artists represent current expeditions, the rest – expeditions to come – it’s just a matter of time… Each week we’ll host another artist/ formation.

Idir was chosen to be the first artist to start this tradition. His spirt speaks even without words. Idir was born in a Berber village and ever since he has been the ambassador of the Kabyle, North African culture, especially the Kabyle music, with only his vocals and acoustic guitar. Idir has always used his status to claim his Berber (Amazigh) identity. His first albumA Vava Inouva came out in 1976, and the song “A Vava Inouva” was translated into seven languages. After notable success, Idir wrote and recorded his second album Ay Arrac Negh (meaning To our children) in 1979.

Idir restarted his career again with the release of a compilation in 1991 of seventeen songs from his first two albums “A Vava Inouva” and “Ay Arrac Negh”. The acoustic guitar gives to the songs of this album a touch of modernism. We can also hear the voice of the Breton singer Alan Stivell in the duo “Isaltiyen”. Idir restarted his career once again with Identités in 1999, a tribute album which joined numerous artists together including Manu Chao,Dan Ar BrazMaxime Le Forestier, and Karen Matheson for a “A Vava Inouva 2″. Also included were Gnawa DiffusionZebdaGilles ServatGeoffrey Oryema and the Orchestre National de Barbès.

Along his career Idir joined (artistic) arms with the Breton artist Alan Stivell, claiming together their peoples identity: “Kabyle… Breton… Le mem Destin!” In the following clip they both sing in their native languages, I cannot understand it, yet it’s beautiful …and convincing!

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