The singer Idir, who was one of the main ambassadors of Kabyle song around the world, died on Saturday May 2 at the age of 70, his family announced on social media.
“We regret to announce the death of our father [à tous], Idir, Saturday May 2 at 9:30 p.m. Rest in peace Dad », stipulates a message published on the singer’s official Facebook page, based in France. The family, contacted by Agence France-presse (AFP), did not wish to speak.
Despite a sparse discography, with seven studio albums since In Vava Inouva (1976), named after his most famous title, broadcast in 77 countries and translated into fifteen languages, plus a compilation and a public recording, he became one of the ambassadors of the Kabyle community. It filled the rooms, wherever it goes. Its popularity thus far exceeded the community. About him, sociologist Pierre Bourdieu said: “He is not a singer like the others. He’s a member of every family. “
“The song had chosen me”
The son of a shepherd, born on October 25, 1949 in Aït Lahcène, a village in Kabylia, Idir is a hero for the Kabyle community, whose identity and culture he has tirelessly defended.
While he intended to be a geologist, a passage in 1973 on Radio Alger changed the course of his life: he replaced at short notice the singer Nouara and her song in Berber language Vava Inouva goes around the world without knowing it while doing military service. “I arrived at the right time, with the right songs”, told AFP Idir in 2013, imbued with childhood songs that punctuated every moment of daily life.
When he left Algeria to settle in Paris in 1975, it was at the suggestion of the record company Pathé Marconi. He had finished his military service, his studies (DEA in geology), so why not leave this country “With a single party, a single newspaper, where we were sent teachers to teach us the foundations of Marxism and make us perfect little revolutionaries”, he says. “I came to record a 33-lap with At Vava Inouva, which worked well, and I started to consider staying here since the song had chosen me, but always with a suitcase ready to go in my head. “
He disappeared from the scene for ten years from 1981 to 1991, but his career was then relaunched. In 1999, he released the album Identities, on which he sings with Manu Chao, Dan Ar Braz, Maxime Le Forestier, Gnawa Diffusion, Zebda, Gilles Servat, Geoffrey Oryema and the Orchester national de Barbès. In 2007, he released the album France of colors, in the middle of the campaign for the French presidential election marked by debates on immigration and identity.
After an absence of around thirty years, the Kabyle baladin presented his album on tour Here and elsewhere, composed mainly of duets, in 2017.