Listen to the Voice: Aziza Brahim Concert Review

Listen to the Voice: Aziza Brahim Concert Review

Our young reviewer, Yael-Louise Dekel, shares her experience of Aziza Brahim‘s performance at Turner Sims on Saturday 19 October. 



Aziza Brahim’s performance was an experience that I enjoyed a lot. Even before she came onto the stage, her band was performing, and the audience and I were immediately grabbed by the music as it opened up with her first song. She then came onto the stage singing, backed by the band’s two guys playing the drums and guitar.

I said in my previous article how it would be interesting to see traditional Indian music performed in a pop style, and Aziza Brahim has done just that with a traditional Arabic music performed like a pop song.

Her songs are all lively and upbeat and, considering her background (as she grew up in a refugee camp,) her songs all share important messages, with titles such as Searching for peace and La Palavra. Since she sung in the language related to her native country I didn’t know what the lyrics meant and so had to understand the message from how the actual song itself went.

La Palavra was a song about freedom of speech, and even without understanding the words this was clear from the song. Brahim has a powerful voice and this, backed up with loud drumming, gave the effect of people speaking out. Not in a riot – the song was much peaceful than that – but still important and still speaking out. The drumming in the background also built up in volume, and the song was building up to a final moment where Aziza Brahim would share her voice clearly.

The next song was ‘for all of the women in the world’ and in this song the feeling was that she was telling a story. The drums and guitar were played in a much softer way, and so added to a steady comforting beat in the background. Brahim’s voice rose and it seemed like the song was saying, ‘we believe in you’ and that ‘you’re doing well’.

While all of the songs were lively and upbeat, Brahim proves that you do not need to understand the language but rather just listen to the actual voice itself, to hear a different tone and emotions in a song.

She did a song for her home country and her voice in this one was much more traditional. It rose and fell like waves. In another song In the world, she starts singing slow and haunting. She sits down for this performance, and the two guys accompanying her create a very different atmosphere with the same instruments they have used for the performance. The song switches to be more lively but it is still slower compared to her other songs. Is she reflecting on good times or singing about the struggle in her journey? Even though you can’t understand the songs – you can tell that all of the words in her songs are meaningful – this song included.

During the performance Brahim would get up at times and dance a bit – drumming a bit herself on a small drum – and it is clear that she enjoys performing. I thought before coming to this show that her songs would be sad, but instead I found myself listening to lively songs that left me feeling with hope. Her songs are full of hope for the future and you do not need to know her language to understand that.

Yael-Louise Dekel

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