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Sonia M’Barek

Sonia M’Barek / Takht


This young Tunisian singer is one of the most interesting new talents to emerge in the world of classical Arab singing. She grew up in a family that she describes as "conservative but passionate in their enthusiasm for music" and, even as a child, accompanied by her grandmother, she sang maalouf. This traditional "classical" Tunisian musical form, so closely linked to the musical heritage of Libya, Algeria and Morocco, has its roots in medieval Andalusia. Traditionally sung by male choirs, it was not until the 1930s that women also began to perform it. Sonia M’Barek has made this genre into an intimate solo repertoire, developing it with her own distinctive approach. For this unique WDR recording session, she personally selected the finest of musicians to accompany her on violin and kementche, on the nay flute, the Arab qanoun zither, the oud lute, cello and percussion. Apart from a voice of enormous expressive power, she also has a thorough musical training. Little did she imagine, when she made her public debut at the age of eight, that by the age of twenty she would be leading her own ensemble. In Tunisia, she is a star. The French press (Figaro) has hailed her as a "modern diva", claiming that "this lovely young woman has enchanted the world with her sensual and enrapturing voice."

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