Rising Algerian stars perform at music festival

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Established performers joined forces with amateur singers to entertain crowds at the National Contemporary Music Festival in the north-eastern Algerian city of Guelma.

The musical event, in its eighth year, is seen as a platform to launch the career of aspiring singers.
Student Soumia Bendjakhnoun took up singing two years ago and performed at this year's festival.

“I am so happy. I actually wasn't expecting to find such people, and thank god my compatriots came and made me happy, they saw me and encouraged me and I would like to thank them a lot, long life for Guelma,” she said.

The 23-year-old performer said her family encouraged her to start singing and performing on stage.

“Thank God my parents are encouraging me, especially my father, and my family and I don't have any problem with appearing on the stage, and thank God, they encourage me. Criticism harms the artist but, thank god, the majority is good so far,” she said.

Soumia said she had received good feedback after her first performance at Guelma's festival.

“I participated and wanted to be heard by the people of Guelma, this is the first time I have sung in Guelma, and seen the people of Guelma, and sang in front of them, I wanted to see their reaction and thank god,” she said.

People at the festival danced and cheered as singers performed on stage.

One festival goer, Razika, said that event was beneficial to the city as it meant people could go out in the evening and enjoy themselves.

“Guelma needs this kind of festival, we were completely isolated but, since this festival started, Guelma livened up a little bit, because it became more developed and people started to go out and have fun, now we have a place to go, whereas before there wasn't, especially for women because we stay at home all the time,” Razika said.

“The festival is very good, there are some good singers and some bad ones, thank God there is a good atmosphere and we hope that each year they hold a festival like this one,” added another festival goer, Khadidja.

French band Orchestre National De Barbes were invited to perform at this year's festival. The band merge different types of musical genres with band members hailing from France, Algeria and Morocco.

The head of the House of Culture in Guelma, Haalbi Samir, said the festival aims to promote contemporary art and culture in the city, as well as give a platform to aspiring singers.

”To give new breath to contemporary music, to give the opportunity to young amateur singers and to contemporary art, to get in touch with the experienced singers, and to promote culture and art in Guelma city.”

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