© Julien Bourgeois
Emel Mathlouthi is a favourite who not only lasts but grows before your very eyes. This is the second time she will be performing at Voix De Femmes. And if you were at the 2013 festival opening, you know. You’ll be in the front row this year and you’ll bring your friends because this kind of experience is one to share!
Discovered when her song ‘Kelmti Horra’ (‘My Word is Free’) became a popular anthem of the Arab Spring in 2011, she released her first album in 2012. Flabbergasted, the world met Emel Mathlouthi.
Emel Mathlouthi’s voice penetrates you and leaves you with goose bumps long after she’s stopped singing. But she’s also (especially?) a ‘musician of the world’ who develops and hones her audacious personal style, a musician who borrows freely from both Tunisian tradition and the latest electronic music.
Her second album, Ensen (February 2017), is a gem. It’s an album that transcends gender barriers and grabs us right in the guts.
Self-produced and recorded in 7 countries on 3 continents, the album was made in collaboration with many other producers, such as Valgeir Sigurðsson (Sigur Ros, Björk) and Johannes Berglund (The Knife, Shout Out Louds, Ane Brun). Entitled Ensen Dhaif (‘Helpless Human’), the album combines gumbri (a three-string Tunisian lute used in Gnawa music), zukra (Tunisian flute), and bendirs (North-African drums) with a heavy bass drum for an unbelievably powerful sound. 3615 catharsis.
Lovers of music from all the corners of the globe, come. We’ll be feeling the music. That’s a promise.
Zoë Mc Pherson
© Camille Cooken
Zoë Mc Pherson (France/North Ireland) lives in Brussels, where, until recently, people have known her from Empty Taxi. Combining her interest in anthropology with contemporary electronic music, she has the habit of going off to discover tribes and rituals from around the world to inject some field recording samples and rare sounds into otherwise immersive and impactful compositions.
In 2017, Zoë Mc Pherson has released a series of compositions for her first album, String Figures, in collaboration with the multimedia visual artist Alessandra Leone.
Associate artist at the Beursschouwburg art centre this year, she plans to release it there on 20 October (as a part of the programme’s ‘The Future is Feminist’ focus, which we no doubt heartily recommend).
And guess when her second performance will be? The 27th in Liège!
The project is inspired by ‘cat’s cradle’, the game where two or more persons make shapes with a string. There are (or were) versions of the game in all cultures of the world, from the poles to the equator. There are different ways of seeing the game, too: a leisure game, graphic art, a prop for storytelling, or a means of divination…
From start to finish, each of the 7 chapters explores a symbolic theme that brings about a wave of transformations wound around a sonorous memory.
i. Sabotage Story (unknot opening)
ii. Deep (prayer)
iii. Shaman (how I became)
iv. Komusar (moving)
v. Hardingfele (release)
vi. Inouï (and free)
vii. Transmission (so it shall never be lost)
Zoë Mc Pherson – electronics and voice
Falk Schrauwen – percussions
Alessandra Leone – live visuals
Hen Lovely bird – choreography