MORE about Democratoz
“Reggae music is the music of revolution,” exclaims vocalist and songwriter Sadek Bouzinou of Democratoz. And as Sadek sings in his resonant, passionate voice over rock-solid beats and urges the audience to move and join him, it’s easy to get swept up by this seven-piece Algerian band.
For Democratoz, revolution starts with music itself. Three years after a 19-year State of Emergency was lifted, Algeria is in the middle of a period of musical experimentation, fueled by its Maghreb roots and an urge to reconnect to the wider world. The band mashes up local gnawa and diwan music and instruments, reggae’s thrumming pulse and rock’s recurring licks. Rolling drums and modal reeds, skin-covered guimbri and chiming percussion hint at the band’s origins, even when the group leans confidently into dubbed-out jams, vocal hooks, and lyrics that speak truth to power.
All of this mixing comes naturally to Democratoz, who hail from Oran, the cosmopolitan city on Algeria’s Mediterranean coast known as the cradle of North Africa’s best-known sound, raï (“opinion” in Arabic). From its outskirt origins in the early 1900s, to its 1980s jump from cabarets into the international limelight, and to its current resurgence, it has maintained its primacy as a cacophonous voice of the people. Among rai’s mix of Berber, Arabic, Andalusian, French, and other influences, its sound owes some of its heady punch to reggae. “Our city has a history that’s connected to reggae,” explains Sadek. “Rai has roots in reggae, mixed with folk music. Even if they don’t know that rai came from reggae, people here get reggae; they love the bass and the drums.”
Democratoz is presented in partnership with Center Stage, a public diplomacy initiative of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts in cooperation with the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations, with support from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.
- July 30, 2016 at 8pm – 10pm
- Pico Union Project, 1153 Valencia St, LA 90015
- $20.00 USD
- 16 people are going
Alfred Madain, Music Director