Tag Archives: these new puritans

Emel - Ensen

posted by Emmanuel on 24.02.17 02:46 in Music Reviews Print  

We need narratives, they are what defines us. But something in Emel’s music stubbornly refuses to be defined. It exists somewhere beyond both apolitical isolationism and cultural appropriation; it builds roads and bridges but, similar in that to Tanya Tagaq, whose Inuit throat singing mixes with the boldest improvised music, never does so in a didactic way, staying true to the cathartic power of music as transformative experience. It might be just another narrative, exploited by the press release, which states that the album was made "in seven countries across three continents”, but in a time of ban and rejection, where Trump and the rising alt-rights are threatening all that this music stands for, it becomes all the more important to stand with it, as an anthem for more freedom together.

Pop music is a harsh business. Whatever broader context you want your songs to be a part of, it always ends up as a narrative aptly helping to sell a product. The public is a sucker for those stories that surround the music as some kind of by-product, and even having no narrative to fit in actually becomes the story of the "pure” artist, left intact by the industry. There are more or less complex narratives, but the paradox is crystal-clear: if you want your music to mean something, it should better stand in its own rights, otherwise you are going to have a hard time making people take it seriously.
In Emel Mathlouthi’s case, the narrative is quite easy to spot: her protest songs soundtracked the Jasmine Revolution in her home country, Tunisia, six years ago now. Her first album, Kelmti Horra was released one year after that, ...


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When we rate an album or concert etc we rate it on the "Huzzah!" system. A score can be between 1 and 3 huzzahs:
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