The women of the Lemma ensemble come from the Saoura region in Saharan Algeria, crossroads of ancient caravan routes and meeting place of diverse musical genres. Saoura women have always been active in musicmaking and passing on of songs, but usually in private gatherings, and today even this time-honoured tradition is in danger of disappearing. To try to stem this decline, Béchar-born, Paris-based singer Souad Asla formed Lemma in 2015.
Nine women aged 24 to 79, boldly going public to share a collected repertoire of Gnawa, Ferda, Hadra and Zefani songs, Berber dances and tranceinducing chants; weaving together the varied threads which tell the heterogeneous history of the desert nomads. Aiding Souad Asla in the work of turning Lemma into a world-class ensemble is her mentor, renowned guembri player and Gnawa singer, Hasna El Becharia.
Souad Asla - artistic direction, percussion, dance, vocals
Hasna El Becharia - vocals, guembri, guitar
Aziza Tahri - vocals, derbuka, t’bal, bendir, karkabu
Fatima Abbi - vocals, bendir, karkabu
Khedidja Anebi - bendir, karkabu, backing vocals
Mebrouka Brik - vocals, bendir, karkabu
Rabia Boughazi - t’bal, bendir, karkabu, pestle, backing vocals
Sabrina Cheddad - bendir, karkabu, dance, backing vocals
Zohra Kherabi - vocals, t’bal, bendir, karkabu