Souad Massi

Honeysuckle (Mesk Elil)

Honeysuckle (Mesk Elil) is 33-year-old Algerian folk-rock singer/guitarist and political activist Souad Massi’s third album. Massi, who, besides having studied music has also earned a degree in engineering, moved to Paris in 1999 after being fired as a town planner in Algeria for her political outspokenness. Massi was immediately accepted into the Parisian music scene and continues to be warmly embraced in Europe. A large cast of backing musicians appears on the lush, passionate Honeysuckle on a variety of instruments, including Western strings, Middle Eastern ney (a type of flute), and a range of hand percussion. Popular Mauritanian singer/songwriter/ guitarist Daby Touré sings a duet with Massi on the sweet, powerful “I Won’t Forget My Roots (Manensa Asli).” Massi’s heart-searing vocals on “Why Is My Heart Sad (Malou)”—sung in Arabic—really need no translation, though the liner notes give us the English equivalent: “Around me, words slay / Dreams are shattered / If I could erase my destiny and rewrite it.”