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Published on Mar 28, 2012
A beautiful rhythmic cocktail of Andalusian, Berber, Arabic, and Flamenco traditions, chaabi music was the heart and soul of cosmopolitan Algiers in the 1940s. When the war of independence tore apart the peaceful Muslim and Jewish communities that came together to play this joyful, sometimes scandalous music, its greatest practitioners were flung back to France or scattered across an austere and increasingly authoritative Algeria. Fast-forward to 2003, when filmmaker Safinez Bousbia serendipitously discovered some old photographs of a music class from the '40s in an antique shop in Algiers. Inspired, she spent the next several years tracking down a group of friends kept apart for five decades to stage an extraordinary reunion concert.