El Gusto Orchestra of Algiers

Separated by history for fifty years, an orchestra of Jewish and Muslim Algerian musicians reunites

3 June 2013 / 20:00

£17.50 - 25

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Algeria, 1950s. A blend of Berber sounds, Andalusian melodies, jazz and chanson rises amongst the walls of the historic Casbah in Algiers. The music is called chaâbi - meaning 'of the people'; and it's played by groups of Jewish and Muslim musicians. Algeria’s war of independence a decade later breaks these two communities apart, burying the memory of a part of the Franco-Algerian history which is still not fully known today.

Separated by history for fifty years, the 25-piece orchestra of Jewish and Muslim musicians returns to the Barbican after a critically-acclaimed performance in 2007 as part of our Ramadan Nights series. Together again, they share the passion that never left them, standing as a proof that music’s universality transcends prejudices.

To witness a performance of El Gusto, is to live a moment of sharing, emotions, and pleasure both for eyes and ears. Traditionally, chaâbi groups are composed of ten musicians, but for the occasion, it is a real orchestra that is brought together. From the classical "o’sayed” songs, to the love songs, and the ditties of the every-day life hummed by the seamen and asked at the weddings, El Gusto evokes the bygone atmosphere of a time and a country.

Pre concert talk, 7pm Stalls Lounge (Level -1)
BBC Radio 3 broadcaster Max Reinhardt in discussion with El Gusto director Safinez Bouisba and members of the El Gusto Orchestra of Algiers

FreeStage 6.15pm El-Andaluz

‘Like a love story interrupted by the war which resumes with renewed vigour once peace returns’ Le Monde

'An extraordinarily moving occasion' ★★★★ The Times

‘The Buena Vista Social Club of Algiers’ Le Journal de Dimanche

El Gusto - documentary trailer

Part of Contemporary Music events

Produced by the Barbican

Barbican Contemporary Music
London’s home to the boldest new jazz, world, folk, contemporary classical, rock, pop & electronic music from across the globe.


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