4 May 2020
SOAS Music PhD student Hugo Hadji was interviewed on Sunday's BBC Newshour show on the World Service, where he talked about the life and legacy of famous Algerian singer and musician Hamid Cheriet - best known by his stage name Idir - who passed away in Paris on 2nd May 2020 at the age of 70.
Tributes to Idir have flooded in from all over the world with Abdelmadjid Tebboune, the President of Algeria, hailing Idir as "an icon of Algerian art" on his Twitter account. Hugo also took a moment to share with us some thoughts regarding his own personal connection with Idir and his music:
First introduced to Idir through my father’s collection of CDs as a child, I remember being imbued with a comforting sense of belonging accompanied by a profound sense of nostalgia, one which is so eloquently conveyed through his music. His most iconic song “A Vava Inouva”, a beautiful lullaby sung in Berber, his mother tongue, is one that holds a special place in my heart as well as those of Algerians across the world. His music has in many ways introduced me to the richness of the North African music scene and awakened my desire to pursue a PhD in that field. Idir, has long been a carrier of pride in a culturally rich Berber identity and more generally an Algerian and North African heritage, one which will live on through his music and continue to inspire others, like myself, for generations long after his death.
The interview is currently available for streaming via the BBC Sounds website (click on this link and go to timecode 49'18 to hear the feature).