|Tunisia / Italy
|Crypt Of Fear
During the Middle Ages, the word «Ifriqya» identified a geographic area mainly consisting of Tunisia and parts of Libya and Algeria; it is in this area that the inspiration of the project I'm about to talk to you resides, both for the name and for the music.
Ifriqiyya Electrique are born by a François-Regis Cambuzat's idea, a French musician who has been playing in different bands in the Italian underground since the Eighties. Among his travel buddies we find the bassist Gianna Greco that plays with him in Putan Club, from which this new project was born from. With them we find three (plus one) components whose origin (cultural, musical and geographical) is completely different: Tarek Sultan, Yahia Chouchen and Youssef Ghazal come indeed from the region giving the name to the project; also, Ali Chouchen contributed as a guest.
"Rûwâhîne" music is described by Cambuzat as a «post-industrial ceremony» which strong spiritual content is bound to Banga, a yearly adorcism ritual proper of some Tunisian countries where the attendees let themselves being possessed by entities called «rûwâhîne». This supernatural presence is manifested in the album thanks to percussions and chants (krakebs, tabla, nagharat) that are the real soul of the record: obsessive tribal rhythms often go on for minutes taking the listener to a trance-like state, preparing the body to host the spirit. Vocals seems to be a lot of times divided between a leader directing the rite and a choir of followers responding to his instructions and are characterized by traditional black timbres that help create the right setting.
Meanwhile Putan Club's two components add a modern touch to the four artist's spirituality, navigating between Electronic music and Rock, though always mantaining a strong industrial sound. Unlike what usually happens in mixes of this nature, the Western element represents an embellishment to the tracks, instead of being the starting point. This trait denotes a great interest in the African music, which is the tracks' real beating heart; its peculiarities are simply amplified by Cambuzat and Greco's intervents. Bass and guitar are used to give more emphasis to the mystic sensations with an industrial, psychedelic, experimental and desert Rock. At the same time, tribal rhythms are accompanied by typical percussions not too distant from Techno, creating an interesting mix of metallic and synthetic sounds. There are also elements coming from yet other worlds, such as the Hip-Hop scratches.
Ifriqiyya Electrique's work gets even more relevance when you think that some cultures risk to be forgotten in time; this is a topic you can hear even around here in Italy, for example when we talk about dialects. In this case, it is about an entire world almost unknown to us, even if Italy hosts many people of African descent. Even for this reason alone, you might consider Ifriqiyya Electrique a documentary other than a simple band, led by Cambuzal's will to go deep in this mysterious reality. "Rûwâhîne" is undoubtedly a work of interest that you will be able to know better thanks to their Youtube videos, such as "Arrah Arrah Abbaina – Bahari – Tenouiba".