Article written

  • on 31.01.2015
  • at 04:00 PM
  • by Kevin

Oualid Khelifi wants to challenge your concepts of African belonging 0

El Foukr R’Assembly is a collaborative music and film project initiated by Algerian filmmaker Oualid Khelifi.

It “looks to foster independent cultural production between North Africa and the rest of the continent, away from state-funding and its sub sequential censorship and demagogy.” Their’s is a bold, political statement of purpose, laden with centuries of historical baggage. The project’s aim is not too far in concept from initiatives such as The Nile Project, but it’s core aim at working independently of state funding gives the mission a bit of a sharp (dare I say punk?) edge. If successful in its aims, El Foukr R’Assembly could challenge dominant concepts of African belonging, race, nation, and cultural diffusion on both sides of the Sahara.

The project’s first edition took place in Djanet, Algeria, between four musicians from different parts of that country. It resulted in a six-track album, and short film documenting the process. Oualid Khelifi is currently in Ghana, trying to raise funds to complete a second collaborative album and short film:


Akwaaba Music founder and Africa is a Country contributor, Benjamin Lebrave, sat down with Oualid to talk about the project and delve deeper into some of the project’s motivations:

Oualid, tell us a bit about the background story for your project in Djanet: how did you and the musicians come together? What sparked the project? What is your respective backgrounds?

Having lived, travelled and worked in various West African countries as an independent multimedia journalist, throughout the years I’ve grown increasingly convinced of the need to foster mobility and exchange between different regions of the continent.

As an Algerian, I’ve brewed a frustration of seeing my co-citizens and other North Africans missing out on incredibly vibrant regions south of the Sahara, as we remain in the Maghreb exclusively locked to the Middle East, Europe and former colonial powers.

In my eyes, a very fruitful synergy could develop, be it economic, cultural or artistic, between North Africa and the rest of the continent. To overcome preconceived erroneous stereotypes, music and short documentary film are accessible tools, which are more likely to carry this rapprochement message without risking alienation of heavily charged political and historic discourses.

Continue reading at Africa is a country

By Boima Tucker

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