Singer Emel Mathlouthi has been called the “Voice of the Arab Spring,” her voice providing inspiration and strength to the revolutionary movement that ousted the ruling regime of her native Tunisia in 2011, serving as a catalyst for the revolutions that followed across the Arab world. Since that time, she has released only one album, Kelmti Horra (My Word Is Free), but has shared the power of her music worldwide, notably at the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony, an artistic counterpart to that year’s winners, the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet. More recently, Mathlouthi brought her magic to the stage of the Lycée Francais of New York.
Emel Mathlouthi is now on a path to releasing a new album, to be titled Ensen. She describes the music as “a unique sonic universe where shaded Arabic tones would coexist with thundering beats and searing melodies, evoking an urgent and passionate search for humanity and truth.” Mathlouthi blends the melodies, language and rhythms of her home with the echoing electronic sounds of trip-hop, the intense, passionate artfulness of Björk, and a heartfelt yearning for a better world embodied by political folk singers like Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. She writes that none of the labels she approached to produce the album were “ready to leap,” unwilling to commit to an African artist who sings in Arabic and who can’t be packaged into one genre nor defined simply by her ethnicity. Ever strong, Mathlouthi is not one to bend in a way she does not want to, thus she is turning to the people of the world–the music lovers, the politically invested–for support. She has set up an Indiegogo page to help fund the final production, distribution, and marketing of the album, where you can make a donation (with perks ranging from a free download to a home-cooked Tunisian dinner). In her words, “if you believe that a woman can be an independent creative and a free artist, please help.”