Back in 2011, Emel Mathlouthi’s song Kelmti Horra (My Word is Free) soundtracked the Tunisian Revolution and then became the anthem for the Arab Spring. Here’s stunning footage of her singing it at the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize concert to thunderous applause.
Now living in New York, she’s all set to release an album on which she sings almost entirely in English for the first time. In her new home, she’s been inspired by the “essential imagery” of poets Rainer Maria Rilke, T.S. Elliot, and John Ashbury, as well as the importance of English language music in her childhood.
Mathlouthi explains that her latest single, Wakers of the Wind, is about “a personal quest for freedom, an escape from stereotypes and doubts. It is a stance against the many forces seeking to reduce as individuals, society and planet to anything less than what we are. It is a call to live our own truths.” She directed the video herself. It features footage of the making of the latest album alongside images celebrating the expansiveness and wonder of nature.
The upcoming album is grounded in nature as Mathlouthi began the process by recording woods, wind, water and fire in the bucolic surrounds of Woodstock in upstate New York. In the studio, in the Catskill Mountains, these ambient sounds were combined with synths, keyboards, and percussion. The record was mixed by Chris Tabron (Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, The Strokes) and Marta Salogni (Björk, M.I.A., Liars).
European fans will get the chance to hear her live, including an appearance in the Shoreditch area of London.
October 23, 2019: Salam Orient Festival, Vienna
October 24, 2019: Jazzclub Tonne, Dresden
October 25, 2019: Frannz Club, Berlin
October 26, 2019: Kampnagel, Hamburg
October 29, 2019: Cafe de La Danse, Paris
November 1, 2019: Melkweg, Amsterdam
November 2, 2019: Crossing Border Festival, Den Haag
November 3, 2019: Botanique, Brussels
November 5, 2019: Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, London
Mathlouthi’s album Everywhere We Looked Was Burning is due out September 27 on Partisan Records
Photo Credit: James Mountford
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