Our music documentary in August was ‘El Gusto’, which was available to watch for free, for all, from anywhere, from August 03 – 24.
EL GUSTO is the story and legacy of an orchestra formed in pre-independence Algeria by composer and musician El Hadj M’Hamed El Anka that brought together musicians of Muslim and Jewish backgrounds through Algerian chaabi music. The film traces the lives of the musicians 50 years after Algerian independence, reuniting them in an exceptional concert for a passion they never lost – the soul of Algiers: Chaabi music.
Throughout the early part of the 20th century, El Anka’s innovation within Algerian music resulted in the rising popularisation of Chaabi music, taking the style and musical culture far beyond Algeria. Beautiful scenery from the Casbah and other Algiers neighbourhoods interweave with the energetic music and brilliant storytelling from director Sefinaz Bousbia as viewers are taken on a musical tour of history while reflecting on changes from colonial to post-colonial realities. The vivid testimonies of musicians who have witnessed Algeria’s tumultuous change, including El Hadi El Anka (son of El Hadj M’Hamed El Anka), gives a unique insight into the richness and diversity present in Algerian music and history, specifically that of the evolution of chaabi music.