Fazil Kezal - E’Chaabi

Some records have a kind of magical attraction on people. In the case of this particular album, I think the picture on the front cover had a prominent impact on me. The way these two young men are dressed and the way they are looking in the same direction at something unknown just immediately got me. I had to know more. Luckily, I was able to find some more of their material on YouTube. “Dalila” was the first track I listened to, and I got instantly hooked.

Hypnotic synths, electronic percussions, and both the powerful lyrics and the voice of Fazil Kezal (1961 - 2009) lead to an immediate love at first listen. 

After I managed to get a copy of the album, I posted a picture of the front cover on Instagram, and a friend of mine from Marseille sent me a message saying that the guy sitting next to Fazil (Manuel Rodriguez, on the left) was his girlfriend’s father and that he was currently living in the south of France, about five minutes from my hometown. So yeah, sometimes coincidences push you deeper in the research process, and it’s like you HAVE to, no questions asked!

Anyway, as there is not much information about Fazil on the Internet I took the opportunity to contact Rachida Chatter Kezal, the widow of the late Fazil, in order to know a little more about who he really was. We finally had a drink together on a sunny afternoon at Place de la République here in Paris. I brought with me the record and showed it to her. When she saw it, her eyes began to tear up, so I quickly understood how much Fazil was loved.

Rachida told me that Fazil was in his early twenties when he wrote, composed, and performed the E’Chaabi album.

He teamed-up with his friend and “guitar-hero” Manuel Rodriguez and did a brilliant reinterpretation of the musical movement called “Chaabi”. I had never listened to something like that before I must say, but I was captivated. All these mixed musical influences such as reggae, rock, new wave, and chaabi blended together on this piece of wax made this album singular and completely ahead of its time.

For those who are interested in Fazil’s work, just be patient…something is currently in the works.

All I can say is that I am really happy to have stumbled upon this rare and interesting gem. It makes me feel uniquely connected with people I would probably never have the chance to meet otherwise.

Thank you, Rachida!


More information here

Thanks also to Marie, Inès & Jordan for the help 

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