Aziza Brahim – ‘Sahari’

Aziza Brahim‘s songs tell the stories of the Sahrawi people, who still struggle for self-determination and national sovereignty. Her music serves as musical and lyrical advocacy work for their cause and ‘Sahari‘, one of the tracks of her recent LP ‘Sahari‘ (Glitterbeat) is a great example. Its lyrics illustrate the historical and present struggle of the Sahrawi people, most of whom live in refugee camps in the Western Sahara or in refugee-like situation in Mauritania or Algeria. Aziza Brahim herself lives in exile in Spain since 2000.

“You will have your freedom,
Dear people, inshallah”
The years have passed, gone by, gone,
And here I am, desperate for my freedom.
The years have passed, gone by, gone,
And I’m here, hungry for freedom.”

The song also shows the captivating love and passion that Brahim feels for the life in the Sahara desert. In an interview with the online magazine PAM, she explained: “My aim is to denounce the extreme living conditions that prevail in refugee camps and the great injustice that prevents Sahrawi refugees from returning home. I tried to capture the feeling of nostalgia my elders express for the land that was taken away from them.” In ‘Sahari‘ Brahim describes this place, where she longs to turn the desert into paradise:

I will cultivate so much harmony,
Filling my heart with meaning,
I’ll live the hope with intensity,
Turning to paradise the deserts.”

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