French synth-punk band CHEVEU and GROUP DOUEH from Western Sahara spent two weeks together in the city of Dakhla in 2016, and they wrote and recorded an album together.

 

Western-Sahara is the home of Sahrawi people. They are speaking a variant of Maghrebi Arabic, and have Berber, Bedouin and Black African ethnic backgrounds.

Their basic instruments are percussions and traditional stringed instruments which ones often replaced by electric guitar nowadays. The region was under Spanish rule until 1975, then Morocco and Mauritania divided up, but there is a movement of independence, called Polisario, which established his state in the inner Western Sahara.

On the one hand – The leader of Group Doueh was born in Dakhla in 1966, at that time it was a village. Of course he made his first guitar himself with metal can and fishing wire – as the legend says. His heroes are Jimi Hendrix, James Brown and Mark Knopfler, and also influenced by Moroccan chaabi and psychedelic music, e.g. Nass El Ghiwane, which was established as an avant-garde political theatre in 1971.

“When I take the instrument, I leave elsewhere. I am absent. Music is my life. I inherited from my father who played percussion from house to house. I can approach any kind of styles, but I track down traditional music, the source.”

cheveu_sahara

On the other hand – French trio Cheveu is not really punk in fact, rather outsider, in out of control zone, somewhere between the crazy psychedelic rock of the 60s and the no wave, industrial and electronic music of the late 70s.

At first files were exchanged, then Cheveu went to Dakhla to play, write and record songs together for two weeks. It was hard to bring together these distant universes.

The music of Doueh is often very ornamented improvisation. “The trigger thing was to fix one of their themes in punk rock mode. It freed us. They made a lot of improvisations, variations, and whenever you thought you had picked up, they left elsewhere…” “At this stage we played a few selected pieces of our repertoire to show what we are going to see (…) in response they suddenly started “Acid Waltz”, a theme brought by us, but they little by little made twists on it.

And finally there was a common live show at a venue. “At first Group Doueh goes to the stage, later Cheveu joins them. And everyone begins to find his place in a repertoire that they have refined for ten days. David takes the microphone. Some women dance. There is even a Parisian who made the trip after he saw the announcement of the event on Facebook. All of a sudden, Hicham turns to me: “Alan Vega in the sand! ”

 

OUT NOW ON BORN BAD RECORDS (FR)


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