The most natural power derives from the four elements: earth, water, air, and fire.
This quartet of forces fuses art to life. As such, Emel Mathlouthi aligns nature and music on her third full-length album, Everywhere We Looked Was Burning (via Partisan Records). Striking a balance between eloquent songcraft, sparse instrumentation, and the voices of the woods, wind, sea, and flames, the Tunisia-born and New York-based singer heralds revolution by trumpeting creative experimentation.
As the story goes, Emel Mathlouthi offset an oppressive upbringing in the North African country of Tunisia by turning to music. Inspired by everything from Joan Baez, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, and Bob Dylan to Sinéad O’Connor, The Cranberries, and Alanis Morissette, she went from performing in a high school heavy metal band to composing protest songs that spurned a fervent social media following for her artful amalgam of heartfelt melodies and off-kilter electronic production. Among those, Kelmti Horra (My Word is Free) generated millions of views throughout the 2011 Tunisian Revolution. Not to mention, the song served as the anthem for the Arab Spring, gave its name to her debut album Kelmti Horra, and took her to the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Concertwhere she performed it to thunderous applause.
2017’s Ensen illuminated her creative strides as produced with Valgeir Sigurðsson(Sigur Ros)and Johannes Berglund (The Knife, Shout Out Louds, Ane Brun). Along the way, Pitchfork declared, “The world needs Emel Mathlouthi’s anthems against the dictatorship machine,”and NPR christened her, “The 21stcentury’s catalyst for change.”
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Tickets £12.50 +bf
Colours (f.k.a. Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen)
2-4 Hoxton Square, London, N1 6NU