Nassima, a fervent ambassador of the Andalusian music of Algeria, is acknowledged for her
exquisite renditions of the san'a tradition and her role in preserving this
ancient genre that was traditionally associated with males.
Nassima was born in Blida, a small town near Algiers at the foot of the Chrea mountains of
Algeria. At the age of 7, she began training at the municipal conservatory, where she
studied voice with master Dahmane Benachour and violin under his associate Hadj Medjbeur. A
promising student, she went on to receive a solo spot in the prestigious El-Widadia
ensemble and collaborate with the well-known Nedjma musical association.
Nassima's career took off in 1979 when she was asked to record an anthology of Arab
Andalusian music for Algerian Radio and Television. Since 1984, she has performed in
various European countries, as well as the US and Canada. In 1987, she received one of the
highest awards from the Algerian president. Between 1987 and 1994, Nassima contributed to
the making of a television series dedicated to North Africa's musical and poetic heritage.
In 1994, Nassima relocated to Paris, where she has performed at many prestigious venues,
including the Théâtre de la Ville, the IMA (Institut du monde arabe), and the Sorbonne, and
has appeared with the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Algiers. She is now considered the
premier specialist in Arab Andalusian music in Europe. She has also participated in
festivals of world and sacred chants, including the renowned Fes Festival of World Sacred
Music (2008). After an absence of 10 years, she was greeted triumphantly in Algeria for a
concert housed in one of the major halls of Algiers.
In addition to excelling in the art of nuba (suites of vocal and instrumental
pieces), Nassima promotes the tradition of m'samaate (female ensembles of Algiers
region), chaabi, and the works of Sufi mystics. She has made numerous recordings,
including Andalusian Music of Algiers and The Sufi Spirit, The Spirit of
Love, both on the Institut du monde arabe / Harmonia Mundi label, and Des Racines
et des Chants.
World Music Institute (WMI) is the premier presenter of world music and
dance in the US. Since its founding in 1985, WMI has built the most comprehensive concert
series of music and dance in the nation, presenting more than 1,400 ensembles and soloists
from over 100 countries and regions. In addition to its concert series in New York, WMI
organizes national tours, and maintains an extensive catalog of recordings, videos, and
books of traditional music. Visit worldmusicinstitute.org for more information.