Iness Mezel is a Berber Algerian singer and songwriter. Her songs are inspired by relationships and the struggles in the world around her.
On her new album, Beyond The Trance, the musical influences of her varied background surge together.
She told Socialist Worker, “I always try to write about things that are important to me as a citizen, a woman, a Berber.
“I wrote the song ‘Amazone’ about women struggling for their independence, to make choices about their lives and get education.
“I can’t write if I don’t have a meaning for the song. Sometimes there is too much anger and not enough thinking so I have to find a balance to be productive.
“Singing in Berber for me is part of putting my stone in the path, being part of a change you want to see, and a voice for that change. As a musician as well I find it very interesting to sing in this language.”
Iness has spent much of her life living in France. She said, “The song ‘Chez Noo’, comes from the French phrase ‘Chez nous, vous êtes chez vous’—my home is your home.
“In the song I use it ironically. I have had enough of the French government’s message that young people who are the second or third generation born in France, whose family were immigrants, are still not seen as French citizens.
“Enough of that!
“I think what is happening in Egypt and Tunisia is inspiring for everybody—the people’s uprising and the force, and it will be interesting to see how it affects the other countries.
“There is great repression of Berber culture in many of these countries, so of course any sign of unity between people in these movements across Africa can help to make a change. And I’m very positive about that.”
Beyond The Trance