Cherif Kheddam, the master of kabyle music passes away

Cherif Kheddam (1927-2012)

We learned with great sorrow the passing of the kabylian composer and poet Cherif Kheddam, this Monday, January 23, 2012.

Cherif KHEDDAM passed away at the age of 85 years in Paris following a long illness.

Agraw.com expresses its deepest condolences to the family, friends, and fans of the last great master of the Kabyle song.

Known to be the champion of Kabyle music of exile, the late Kheddam arrived in 1947 in France.On his arrival, he settled in Saint-Denis and in Epinay.

From 1947 to 1952, he worked in a foundry, and from 1953 to 1961, a painting business. Alongside his hard work, Cherif Kheddam was taking music lessons at night in private homes. So it was in the context of emigration that Cherif began practicing music and singing.

According to the deceased writer Tahar Djaout who was in France where he arrived at the age of 21 years, Cherif Kheddam really discovered the art: the song of the  Maghreb, Arab or Western, Egyptian films at a time when the scene was dominated, as regards the Kabyle songs by Slimane Azem, Cheikh El-Hasnaoui and Alloua Zerrouki

From his first song Yellis tmurt n iw (Girl of my country), recorded in the late 1940′s on a 78 record, Kheddam went from strength to strength with his multitude of Songs like B’gayet Telha and composing for Radio Paris, then to ORTF where several pieces were performed by the orchestra of the radio.

The agony of exile and the war of national liberation forced him inward and to create. This paradoxical situation which arose in the musical work of Cherif turned into a professional career, great framing of the song which Kabyle Idir, Aït Menguellet, Malika Domrane and Nouara whose husband  he became. He returned home in 1963, the year he returned to the Channel II to host several radio programs.

With Ighennayen Uzekka (the singers of tomorrow) he was well known and highly regarded for having unearthed talent, advising and encouraging the newcomers to the world of song. His family said the body of  Cherif Kheddam was transferred to a morgue near the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris on Wednesday would be repatriated to Algeria, to the village of Ait Bou Messaoud (Tizi-Ouzou) he was born 1 January 1927.

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    I was deeply sad when I heard that he passed away. Mr. Kheddam, be in peace forever in your grave, but keep in mind we won’t forget you and let me tell you Thank you for all what you have done for Amazigh culture.

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