The Carthage Music Days came to a triumphant end last week, but guests and event-goers are still under the captivating spell of everything that went down during the 8th edition of the annual musical extravaganza. Dorsaf Hamdani, the director of the festival, took it upon herself to make it one of the most spectacular and innovative editions, with a thoughtfully-curated lineup that included artists and groups hailing from the different parts of the Arab world, Europe, and the US, without neglecting both emerging and established Tunisian artists.
In a country where cultural diversity dominates, festivals and events seem to overlook the changing musical taste of the audience that made the switch from Eurocentric music in favor of Arab creatives who are experimenting with genres and loading their music with relatable lyrics. Needless to say, the youth is still actively looking outside nightclubs for events, parties, and festivals where they can enjoy their favorite music without getting wasted or trudging to the wildest parts of the city.
This year, the festival invited Syrian rapper Bu Kolthoum to perform during a long-awaited debut concert in Tunisia, and it was probably the best decision organizers could have made, to say the least. In the jam-packed Opera Theater, Damascus’s beloved musician got the chance to fulfill the sonic needs of his Tunisian fans with a one-and-a-half hour-long performance that was for the history books.
In case you missed it, don’t worry— MILLE was on the ground to provide you with a cohesive roundup of all the major highlights from the concert, below.
Bu Muhammed, the warm-up guy
While the main Bu was preparing himself for the show backstage, DJ Bu Muhammed took over the stage in front of the El Matbakh logo to provide concertgoers with head-bopping tunes from the likes of Koast, KTYB, Daboor, and Shabjdeed. During the frigid winter night, the artist made sure everyone was already shouting and dancing ahead of the show. Once Bu Kolthoum reached the stage, he made it clear how grateful he was to have his team by his side, by shouting out their names and introducing them to the audience.
“Take care of your country”
After his first song, Bu Kolthoum took a few seconds to greet the crowd and express his first impressions of Tunisia. According to him, there are some striking similarities between the North African country and Syria, with their green sceneries and white-washed buildings.
Remembering how his home country is torn by war, the artist didn’t miss the opportunity to remind his audience to “take care of your beautiful country.”
He previewed his unreleased song ’Ali Gara’ from his upcoming album
To make his first performance in Tunis as memorable as possible, Bu Kothoum decided to share a preview of his first unfinished track from his forthcoming new album. While the project is only half-finalized, it seems like being in Tunisia inspired him to tease this very song. For those who didn’t get it yet, the soul and funk-influenced rapper and music producer built on the classic song Ali Gara that was originally sung by Oulaya El Tounsiya, for his next project. While taking the song to another place with mix and match beats and bold lyrics, the main themes of alienation, displacement, belonging and loneliness are still there.
Photos courtesy of Seddik Boubaker