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Abderrahmane Abdelli (born April 2, 1958) is a Berber author, composer, and singer songwriter known for mixing the traditional North African music of his homeland with modern sounds.

Abderrahmane Abdelli
Abderrahmane Abdelli.jpg
Abderrahmane Abdelli playing the mandol (Algerian mandole) in concert in Ghent, Belgium on October 1, 2006
Background information
Born (1958-04-02) April 2, 1958 (age 61)
Tizi Ouzou, Algeria
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, composer, author
InstrumentsGuitar, Algerian mandole, bendir, darbuka
Years active1974 – present
LabelsReal World


Abdelli was born in Mechta Behalil, a hamlet in the Great Kabylie, Algeria, during the Algerian War of Independence. His family was displaced by the bombing of their village, Kennour,[1] part of the Tizi Ouzou Province, by the French airforce. After the war, Abdelli's family settled in the coastal town of Dellys. As a boy, Abdelli constructed his first guitar out of an empty oil can, a plank of wood and fishing line.[2] After learning to play the guitar, Abdelli was introduced to the mandol by Chaabi master, Chaïd Moh-Esguir.[2]

Abdelli made his musical debut in Dellys, Kabylie, during the 1974 Algerian Independence festival.[3] He won several contests in Algeria for amateur singers.[4] Abdelli produced his first album in 1984, but it saw little success. Two years later, he released an album that sold 12,000 copies, but never received payment from his record company Abdelli produced a couple of albums in Algeria, but moved to Belgium in 1984. It was there "he met producer Thierry Van Roy, who was so fascinated with Abdelli's music that he spent two years exploring the roots of the Berbers' musical tradition at the University of Algiers."[4] Since 1986 he has made his home in Brussels, Belgium.

Abdelli's most popular albums are New Moon[5] and Among Brothers[6] He has performed at major festivals in Europe, including WOMAD and the 0110 concert in Ghent. In addition to Europe he has toured in England, the US and Canada.


Abdelli's music reflects a heavy Algerian influence. As stated by World Music Central:

Abdelli's lyrics express strong and poetic images of his culture which is threatened from all sides. He expresses himself essentially by symbols which are parts of his traditional culture. He tries to make known the ancient Berber culture which, by its tolerance and openness, is an example to follow in our troubled world.[7]

Abdelli has collaborated with musicians from Europe and South America, often incorporating instruments such as the cajón (Peru), the tormento, the quena (Chilean), and the bandura (Ukrainian).


Band membersEdit

  • Roberto Lagos (charango, guitar, bombo)
  • Said Mohammed (ney)
  • Jazouli Azzedine (darbuka, tar, bendir)
  • Louis Ivan Leiva Alguinta (Latin percussion)
  • Abdelmajid Makrai Lamarti (violin)
  • Thierry Van Roy (keyboards)


  1. ^ Locator Map for Kennour, Algeria from
  2. ^ a b "Biography: Abdelli"
  3. ^ "Abdelli Biography" Thierry Van Roy Productions
  4. ^ a b "Abdelli" World Music Central
  5. ^ Abdelli (1995) New Moon Real World, New York, CDRW54, arranged by Thierry Van Roy, recorded by Thierry Van Roy Studios, Brussels, Belgium;
  6. ^ Abdelli (2003) Among Brothers Real World Records, Virgin Music, Wiltshire, UK, arranged by Thierry Van Roy, recorded in various locations between Nov. 1998 and May 2001;
  7. ^ World Music Central - Your connection to World Music


  • Larkin, Colin (ed.) (1998) "Abdelli" The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (3rd ed.) MUZE, London, ISBN 1-56159-237-4 ;
  • Abdelli, A. (July 2003) "Asiram" Global Rhythm Magazine 12(7): ;
  • Byrne, Jennifer (2004) "Abdelli Among Brothers" Sing Out! 48:1 p. 120;

External linksEdit