1/  Alger Alger                                (Boniche)                     6.32
  2/  Amir Leghram                               (Traditional)                 6.51
  3/  Mezelt Ma Jetch                            (Boniche)                     6.57
  4/  Alleche Tu Ne M'Aimes Pas                  (Boniche)                     2.50
  5/  Yakhalbi Khali L'Hal                       (Traditional)                 6.39
  6/  Saadi Rite Elbarrah                        (Boniche)                     7.18
  7/  Il N'Y A Qu'Un Seul Dieu                   (Boniche)                     5.57
  8/  Je Chanterai Toujours La Musique Orientale (Boniche)                     8.29
  9/  Oomri Combien Je T'aime                    (Boniche)                     5.44
  10/ Pedro Le Toreador                          (Boniche)                     5.06

          Engineered by Oz Fritz
          Produced by Bill Laswell and Jean Touitou
Lili Boniche: guitar, vocals; Maurice El Medioni: piano; Gregoire Garrigues: bass; Hakim Hamadouche: mandolin; Bill Laswell: bass, synthesizers, additional beats; Mardoche Maimaran: drums; Maurice Sellem: violin; Armand Suissa: derbouka.

          1998 - A.P.C. (France), A.P.C. 008 (CD)


Alger Alger is clearly a product of the collision of musical cultures, those of France, the Berber tradition of Francophone North Africa, with hints of Spanish and Moorish sounds. The prevalent piano and violin instrumentation place Boniche's sinuous vocals, as well as his electric guitar, the ubiquitous Bill Laswell's bass, and a variety of hand drum percussion firmly in a café or club setting. The result is not so much an invitation to participation in this rich, expressive music, to dancing, as to a detached delectation.

The quick Alleche Tu Ne M'Aimes Pas, a spirited march grounded in piano and led by violin, sounds very Parisian, the type of music appropriated by Jacques Brel. Yakhalbi Khali L'Häl is of a more Middle Eastern form, an extended piano introduction leading to a modal violin melody played over a stern beat, reminiscent of a Turkish karsilama, Boniche's vocal finding quavering waystations in the interstices between the twelve familiar notes per octave. Sâadi Rite Elbarrah follows much the same structure, even the same key, but is even more dramatic, violin along with Boniche's vocal and guitar participating in the long introductory meditation, as if the entire ensemble were holding its breath awaiting the arrival of percussion, a signal to break into a lively, loping rhythm. In Pedro le Toréador, a Flamenco introduction on mandola suggests musical mixing followed up by piano and violin.

You won't find yourself dancing along with Alger Alger. Despite the liveliness of the music and of Lili Boniche's vocal, there is a certain propriety which suggests restrained good times in a formal setting. But the times, and the music, are nonetheless good.

Captain Crackpot (courtesy of the Captain Crackpot website)