BARGOU 08 is a musical journey through the almost forgotten popular landscapes of north – west Tunisia, an isolated region between the Tunisian mountains and the Algerian border.
Singer Nidhal Yahyaoui and musical producer Sofyann Ben Youssef take the listener to journey through this musical heritage, so close to extinction, and perpetuate it through a celebration of authentic lyrics, melodies and dance, combined with modern beats and electronic sounds.
An invitation to a trance that balances the spirit and lighten up the hearts, BARGOU 08 has became a front, Front Musical Populaire !
Separated through a mountain chain called “Bargou” on the east and the Algerian border on the west, one of Tunisia’s poorest areas offers an authentic musical heritage – “ SALHI”, also known as “RAGRAGI”, a less acknowledged musical genre in Tunisia and the Arab world.
“08”, was, until recently, this area’s dial code, and till this day, is used in the capital Tunis as a codename describing a poor or underprivileged individual.
Born in Bargou, singer Nidhal Yahyaoui engaged with the specific characteristics of this music from an early age. Inspired by his personal journey and a profound period of research, with Tunisian composer Sofyann Ben Youssef, Nidhal aimed to revive the rich repertoire of this culturally and economically neglected area. This challenge resulted in creating “BARGOU 08”. Following a three-week residency period (May 2013), ” BARGOU 08 ” began touring Europe and Tunisia, putting a special emphasis on playing in marginalised areas. Giving the recent challenges the country is facing in the aftermath of a revolution, the project aims to counter the loss of a cultural identity that Arab countries are facing at the moment.
The main challenge has been to find musicians that can master this unique repertoire that demands a specific knowledge of a musical tradition that is slowly disappearing. In addition, the repertoire that has only been preserved through oral tradition and needed to be collected during local field research. The complete absence of original recordings of this region makes this projects aim, namely to record an album in the region itself, extremely crucial. Another residency is planned in the course of this year where the band will reside in the house of the ancestors of Nidhal Yahyaoui taking in the area’s special geographical location. Nidhal Yahyaoui will be recording his first album in the area itself, to be able to add locals and their knowledge to the experience and capture the music in its natural environment.