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Released on 10/3/14 via Wayward/IRL079
Imed Alibi’s music is an epic and joyful expression of a soul revolution. Built on the percussive foundations of Alibi’s Berber and Sufi rhythms, virtuoso Tunisian violinist Zied Zouari’s emotive quarter-tone melisma soars over rich orchestrations, heavyweight dub lines, and distorted digital beats. This is the soundtrack for a new Arab vision of the 21st century”. Justin Adams (JuJu, Tinariwen, Robert Plant)
Imed Alibi makes world music. Modern world music. A world of rhythms, beats, melody, ideas, transformation, technology and passion. In a world where everything is fluid, they transcend all notions of time, space and musical genre.
The brainchild of percussion virtuoso, Imed Alibi, former member of The Boukakes, who’s played with everyone from Mamdouh Bahri to Watcha Clan, his is a music built on the percussive foundations of Berber and Sufi rhythms, a violin surfing an orchestral wave, digital beats lapping at its feet, a heavyweight bassline grounding its race to the shore. The violin is Khaled, Emel Mathlouthi and Sultana collaborator, Zied Zouari, from Tunisia; the beats are Zé Luis Nascimento, the Brazilian percussionist of choice to such as Titi Robin and Mayra Andrade; and the bassline is Speed Caravan’s Pascal Teillet. From all corners of the world, this magical project fuses one progressive musical vision.
No strangers to the studio, these four musicians set out on a journey to find, capture and crystalise the music they knew the project had the potential to inspire. But no journey was necessary, as immediately, the music found, captured and crystalised them. With sympathetic and innovative production input from Justin Adams (JuJu, Tinariwen, Robert Plant) and Tim Oliver (The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, New Order, Robert Plant, Sinead O’Connor) and added keyboards and electronic effects from French arranger and composer, Stephane Puech, Imed Alibi is now set to release a groundbreaking debut album on IRL Records.
Safar means trip or journey in Arabic, which is apt. Safar began about 2 years as a percussion project with Zé Luis. Imed and Zé Luis then decided to add more melodic elements, which led naturally to inviting Zied to add his violin and Pascal to underpin the sessions with his bass. Once they were all in the studio they decided to introduce Stephane’s electronic effects. Imed had previously met Justin Adams at various festivals as a member of Robert Plant’s band and knowing that Justin was a fellow musical adventurer invited him to get involved in arrangements and production.
Beautiful, sensual and captivating, this is modern Arabic music of ambition and courage, where culture and geography have merged as one, taking us to the heart of hope and the source of being human, offering an intimate meditation on the meaning of our lives.
Artistic direction and percussion
Imed Alibi is an exceptional percussionist and musician. He started playing percussion at an early age in classical North African/Middle Eastern orchestras. He moved to Montpellier, France in the early 2000s, where he played in a variety of groups, working in a variety of styles – from flamenco, Eastern, gypsy fusion bringing his musical talent to dance and theatre. For eight years he toured with the Boukakes, an oriental rock band that produced two studio albums. Since then he has played with Rachid Taha, Safy Boutella, Mamdouh Bahri, Ghalia Benali, Mercan Dede, Watcha Clan and Michel Marre and composed music for a documentary for the ARTE channel in 2012. For three years he also recorded and toured with the Tunisian singer-songwriter Emel Mathlouthi.