Sassi – Tchambar Sika – Parlophone, c. 1930 - Sassi, born in Constantine but raised in Algiers, was not only the most accomplished mandolin player of his generation––almost always described as a virtuoso––but among the most prolific recording artists of his era.
Habiba Messika – Souria Anti Biladi & Ya man yahounnou – Baidaphon, c. 1928 - In April 1928, approximately a year after the conclusion of the Great Syrian Revolt––ninety years ago this month––Tunisian Jewish superstar Habiba Messika walked into the Berlin studio of the Baidaphon label and recorded, “Syria, you are my country” (“Souria Anti Biladi”).
Louisa Tounsia – Heukm Ennessouane – Pathé, c. 1930-1931 - During Louisa Tounsia’s rise to stardom in the mid-to-late 1920s, the Tunis-born Jewish artist played an instrumental role in carving out a modern Tunisian public.
Flifla Chamia – Moute Habiba Messika – Gramophone, c. 1930 - There was near-consensus during the interwar period that Flifla Chamia was the greatest dancer of her generation.
Albert Suissa – Ghoniet Lefrak – Olympia, c. 1950s - That Albert Suissa’s biography and history have until now escaped is not surprising. In many ways, he lived in-between and embodied the painful essence of “lefrak” (“separation”).
Reinette l’Oranaise – Ya biadi ya nas – Polyphon, c. 1934 - If you listen carefully to the first thirty-seconds of Reinette’s recording of “Ya biadi ya nas,” Saoud himself is there in the background, lending his vocals to hers as she warms up.
Slomo Souiri – Kssidat Farha – Olympia, c. 1950s - In the 1930s, he added Baidaphon and Columbia to his roster. As for the latter, the label claimed that the public “could not remain indifferent” to Souiri’s popular repertoire
Salim Halali – Je t’appartiens (tango) – Pathe, c. 1945 - With this tango, then, Salim Halali not only boldly announced his return to the stage and studio but also made it clear that, once again, he belonged to his public.