Tunisian songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Emel Mathlouthi released her debut album, Kelmti Horra (My Word Is Free), in 2012. She’d initially gained visibility after a video of her performing a version of the title track during a Tunisian street protest went viral online during the Arab Spring, and her music was ultimately banned from Tunisian radio airwaves and earned her the title “voice of the Tunisian revolution.”
Since then, Mathlouthi has shifted and complicated her sound, incorporating a dark atmosphere, expansive electronics and digital glitches, without losing her revolutionary spirit. As anyone who has seen or hear her perform knows, all of her work is powered forward by her otherworldly operatic voice, a voice that is comfortable in the midst of a protest, in a club or theater, or at the 2015 Novel Peace Prize ceremony.
Her sophomore album, Ensen, released in 2017 on Partisan, was produced with Valgeir Sigurðson (Sigur Ros, Feist, Bjork). The collection’s icy electronic soundscape was fractured even further with 2018’s Ensenity, a collection that featured reworks of Mathlouthi’s Ensen songs by the likes of Delay, AFG, Ash Koosha, and more.
Her third album, due in the Spring of 2019, is her most complex and experimental project to date. It is also her first collection to feature songs sung in English alongside Arabic language tracks.
No upcoming dates.