Emel Mathlouthi

Emel Mathlouthi, or simply Emel, is a Tunisian American singer, composer, performer, and producer whose music has crossed time, countries, and continents.

Born in Tunis, Emel forged her musical universe through meeting those of revolutionary artists such as Bob Dylan, Cheikh Imam, and Joan Baez. It was natural that she started writing protest songs. These composed the body of her first album Kelmti Horra (My Word Is Free).

In 2011, Emel came to prominence after a video of her performing her iconic title on Avenue Bourguiba went viral, in the midst of the Tunisian revolution, in the midst of thousands of demonstrators. Finding an echo throughout all Arab countries Kelmti Horra propelled Emel to the rank of icon, and earned her the title of “voice of the Arab Spring”. In 2016, she performed Kelmti Horra at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony.

Eager to build a sound as revolutionary as her lyrics, Emel developed an electronic sound loaded with North African references, with complex rhythms and chiaroscuro atmospheres. Ensen her second album on the American label Partisan Records was released in 2017. In 2018, she released Ensenity, a rework of her album on which appear interpretations by visionary producers Delay, AFG, or Ash Koosha, among others. In perpetual metamorphosis, Emel pushed the boundaries of her universe again in 2019 with the release of Everywhere We Looked Was Burning.

In 2020, Emel chose to live out her quarantine in Tunis. In her family home, she found a classical guitar. The Tunis Diaries, her fourth acoustic album is born. This album marked a moving reconciliation with her native country and her first influences. Her self-recorded song Holm was met with phenomenal success achieving over 9M plays on YouTube.

Emel is currently producing her fifth album, MRA (woman), an ode to the feminine and to sorority driven by close collaboration between women artists, musicians, and producers from all walks of life. It is due out Partisan in 2023.

 

 

Emel Mathlouthi’s vision of protest music is searingly contemporary…Her strident voice mixes with haunting minor scales and
traditional North African instruments and rhythms, thundering beats and incendiary electronic textures abounded PITCHFORK

Emel Mathlouthi Is The 21st Century’s Catalyst for change NPR

These are torn songs for an apocalypse The GUARDIAN