Song music of the Saoura
The Lemma ensemble, created under the impetus of Souad Asla, comes from Saoura, the Saharan southern part of Algeria. The music of the Saoura, sometimes slow and languorous, sometimes lively and swaying, remains recognizable by the stripping of its instruments and the place occupied by the body. The voice and the hands remain the principal instruments, to which the percussions are joined. Serious or trivial, the text sings disappointed loves, insomniac watches and torments, the elegies to the Prophet and the invocations of his family. Lemma's women artists have been and will be invited to many festivals in France and Europe.
Souad Asla, whose childhood was lulled by the melodies of this music and the hip-swings of these dances, returned after years of absence for a redemptive memorial at the place of her birth. She managed to raise the visibility of this genre by combining authenticity and exacting direction. From now on the lemma (as meeting, assembly) takes place in public and on the stages of the world as well as being practiced, as it always was, in private and intimate encounters .
The Saoura region, where the musicians of the Lemma group come from, lies more than 1000km south of the Mediterranean Sea. A traveller coming from the north would have to cross the chain of the Saharan Atlas and go beyond Jebel Amour to arrive at Jebel Bechar, a veritable wall between the steppe and the Saoura region. Entering one of the passes, he would finally be able to look over this valley which formed part of one of the main caravan routes; the one that crossed the Saharan oases towards the mythical country of Sudan. Despite the severity of its geography, the region is brimming with history. More than a frontier, it is first and foremost a meeting space.
With modest means and a body totally dedicated to the rhythm, the inhabitants of the Saoura have filled an immense void with melodies of singular charm. Serious or trivial, the text can only ever be a pretext for a melody made of cries and murmurs interspersed with silence. The text will often end up subjugating itself to the emotional power of the rhythm.
Although distinguished by its own style and staging, melodic, instrumental and choreographic innovations, the Lemma group is inspired by the collections and repertoires of the four main genres of the region: zaffânî, hadra, al-farda and gnawi