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Souad Massi

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Souad Massi (Kabyle: Suɛad Masi, Arabic: سعاد ماسي) (born 23rd August 1972), is an Algerian of Kabyle descent, singer, songwriter and guitarist. She began her career performing in the Algerian political rock band Atakor, before leaving the country following a series of death threats. In 1999, Massi performed at the Femmes d’Algerie concert in Paris, which led to a recording contract with Island Records.

Massi’s music, which prominently features the acoustic guitar, displays Western musical style influences such as rock, country or the Portuguese , rather than traditional Algerian or Raï musical styles performed by most Algerian musicians. Massi sings in Algerian Arabic, French, and occasionally English and Kabyle (Berber language), often employing multiple languages in the same song.

Massi was born in Algiers, Algeria to a poor Muslim family of seven children. Encouraged by her older brother, she began studying music at a young age, singing and playing guitar. Growing up Massi immersed herself in American and roots music, musical styles that would later heavily influence her songwriting. At the age of seventeen she joined a flamenco band, but quickly grew bored with the group and left.

In the early 1990s, Massi joined the Algerian political rock band Atakor, who were influenced by Western rock bands such as Led Zeppelin and U2. She recorded and performed with the group for seven years, releasing a successful album and two popular music videos.

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