Ten years ago, the El Gusto Orchestra was born to reunite a group of Jewish and Muslim musicians torn apart by history 50 years earlier. Their beautiful story was told in a feature-length documentary: El Gusto, released in 2012. Since the orchestra recorded 2 albums and went on tour performing their beloved Chaâbi music in the most prestigious venues around the world. From city to city, the orchestra discovered that Chaâbi music was alive and beating in many other places than just the Maghreb, as a whole new generation of artists devotes their career to reinvent this ancestral art.
To celebrate the approaching 100’s anniversary of Chaâbi music, the El Gusto orchestra embarks on a new adventure: to unite the new generation of Chaâbi musicians from Algiers, Paris, Jerusalem, and Montreal with the El Gusto pioneers to record a musical anthology “The Chaâbi Academy”. The recordings started in Algiers, the historical birthplace of Chaâbi, before traveling to the 4 corners of the world following the steps of several Algerian exiled population. In each city new sounds, instruments and stories were added to the recording, capturing the essence of each local Chaâbi. During the recording, a new friendship was born between all these musicians separated by various physical and political borders. They even developed the ability to recognize the sound of each other without having ever met. Music became their common language to dialog, to get to know each other despite all their respective perceptions. Together, they created an intergenerational bridge, allowing the older generation to transmit their history and for the younger ones to understand it. In a world where prejudices and judgments are gaining grounds while tolerance and co-existence are losing ground, the new El Gusto Orchestra aims to transcend borders and instore a dialogue made possible by the universality of the musical language.
After 4 long years of recording around the world, the album will be released in summer/autumn 2018. Alongside the release, the El Gusto orchestra will take the stage to finally reunite the old and new generation musicians and singers who participated in the creation of “The Chaâbi Academy”. This tour will be an opportunity for all these musicians to meet physically for the first time and perform all together. This will also be the farewell tour of the pioneers of El Gusto but also the chance for them to proudly introduce this new generation that will continue in their footsteps. But above all, It is a beautiful occasion to bring together once more a musical culture torn apart by history.