Bab L’ Bluz - Songlines Music Awards 2021 Nominee | Songlines


Bab L’ Bluz
Nayda! (Real World)

Bab L' Bluz 01 Cr Bab L' Bluz
Bab L' Bluz Nayda! Packshot

“More than anything we’re a rock band,” insists Yousra Mansour, fearless frontwoman with Bab L’ Bluz. Yet the Moroccan-French quartet are a rock band like no other. Hypnotic Gnawa loops combine with a deep funk played on traditional instruments such as awicha and gimbri. Moroccan chaabi is spiced with contemporary trance and the clattering percussion of qaraqab (metal castanets), while the propulsive drumming is enhanced by a turned-on-tuned-in 21st century psych groove. Formed in 2018, Bab L’ Bluz channel a huge range of influences into music that crosses borders and travels through time. Representing Morocco’s Nayda youth movement – a new wave of artists and musicians who have brought about a cultural revolution in recent years – no small part of the Bab L’ Bluz revolution is Mansour herself, a pioneering woman and an electrifying presence in a traditionally male-dominated domain. Accompanied by French gimbri player, producer and multi-instrumentalist Brice Bottin, flautist Jérôme Bartholomé and drummer Hafid Zouaoui, Mansour’s hymns of freedom are sung in the Moroccan-Arabic dialect of Darija and the group’s debut album is a thrilling manifesto of expansive musical invention. “All of us in Bab L’ Bluz believe that art can open minds and change mentalities. This is what we try to do,” Mansour says. Nigel Williamson

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