Marrakech – Hamid Cheriet, better known by his stage name Idir, was born in 1949 in Kabily, in the village of Ait Lahcen, in Algeria, is famous throughout the world for his Amazigh music. But before becoming a very famous singer and ambassador of Amazigh music, he devoted all his time to studying geology.
Idir, the Professor of Biology, moved to the desert of Algeria in 1973 to work in the Algerian oil and gas field. During his time there, his singing talent was discovered by his colleagues when he sang for them a poem entitled, Avava Inuva.
Later, Idir composed his signature song, Avava Inuva, in 1976. Immediately, it became a hit all over the world, and paved the way for Idir’s artistic career. Idir brought the Amazigh identity into the spotlight with Avava Inuva, that narrates a simple story of a legendary girl, Ghriba.
Avava Inuva tells about a girl in the mountains who suffers daily from the harsh climate of ice and snow as she goes out to bring her young brothers food to eat and wood to make them warm. One day, Ghriba goes out but when she comes back, her father refuses to open the door for her, for fear of the forest monster, until she proves that she is his daughter. Her father asks her to shake her bracelets, so that he can recognize her: “Shake your bracelets, little strange girl. I fear the monster of the forest,” he says in the song.
The song goes on to tell about the daily life and culture of the Kabily people 30 years ago, as they stayed home together with the grandfather, who narrated short stories for them.
It is a historic song that describes how the families in Kabily build their culture, and transmit good behaviors, ideas, traditions to the new generation.
Avava Inuva now promotes the Amazigh culture and language all over the world, having been translated into seven languages, and sung in three, French, Spanish, and Greek.
Idir lived up to his potential in 1999, when he launched the album “Identities.” It was a tribute album that brought together several famous artists including Manu Chao, Dan Ar Braz, Maxime Le Forestier, and Karen Matheson, Gnawa Diffusion, Zebda, Gilles Servat, Geoffrey Oryema and the Orchestre National de Barbès to record “A Vava Inouva 2.”
Besides Avava Inuva, Idir is well known for many other albums such as Ay Arrac nne? (Ay Arrac Negh), Les Chasseurs de lumières, Deux rives, un rêve, Entre scènes et Terres (album en direct), La France des couleurs 22, and the quintessential, Idir.
With only his vocals and acoustic guitar, Idir has made the Tamazight language and culture known and loved all over the world as a singer of love, peace, and freedom, not only for the Imazighne, but for all humanity.
Idir has performed in concerts for peace, freedom, and tolerance all over the world, including the Festival of Tolerance Timitar 2013, in Agadir, in Morocco.
Edited by Elisabeth Myers
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