Idir Biography

Hamid Cheriet, 1949, Aït Lahcène, Haute-Kabylia, Algeria. Born into a Berber family of farmers, Cheriet studied geology at university. He made his musical debut on Radio Algiers in 1973, singing the lullaby ‘A Vava Inouva’ as a last minute replacement for an absent star. The song became a hit in his homeland and, in 1975, following a spell in the army, he moved to Paris, France to sign a recording contract with Pathé Marconi. Adopting the name Idir (‘He Will Live’), he has established himself as a singer, songwriter and poet, expressing the cultural identity and sense of exile of France’s Berber community. He released two albums in the 70s (one in 1976, the other in 1979) and subsequently recorded with Alan Stivell. In 1995, Idir organised Algerie, La Vie (Algeria, Life) a concert to promote unity in civil war-torn Algeria, where he performed with Khaled, in order to emphasise Berber and Arab co-operation. Identités, his international debut released in France in 1999 and throughout the world a year later, featured a series of duets with like-minded artists from around the world, including Manu Chao, Geoffrey Oryema, Dan Ar Braz, Orchestre National De Barbes and Frederic Galliano. This gently impressive release featured the flutes and guitars of Berber ‘kabyle’ music throughout.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.