Kabyle music legend Idir passes away

The singer Idir, who was one of the main ambassadors of Kabyle song throughout the world, died on Saturday at the age of 70, his family announced on social networks.

“We regret to announce the death of our father (to all of you), Idir, on Saturday 2 May at 9.30pm. We regret to inform you that our father, Idir, passed away on Saturday 2 May at 9.30pm. “Rest in peace, Daddy,” says a message published on the singer’s official Facebook page, which is based in France. The family, contacted by AFP, did not wish to express themselves.

Idir, whose real name is Hamid Cheriet, was born on 25 October 1949 in Aït Lahcène, near Tizi-Ouzou, the capital of Greater Kabylia. In 1973 Idir, who was destined to become a geologist, made a major comeback on Radio Alger, replacing the singer Nouara at the last minute and his Berber-language song “Vava Inouva” went round the world without him knowing it while he was doing his military service.

He returned to Paris in 1975 to produce his first album, also entitled “Vava Inouva”. He disappeared from the stage for ten years between 1981 and 1991, but his career was then relaunched. In 1999, he released the album “Identités”, on which he sang with Manu Chao, Dan Ar Braz, Maxime Le Forestier, Gnawa Diffusion, Zebda, Gilles Servat, Geoffrey Oryema and the Orchestre National de Barbès.

In 2007, he released the album “La France des couleurs”, in the midst of the campaign for the French presidential election marked by debates on immigration and identity.

In January 2018, he returned to Algiers to sing in the Berber New Year “Yennayer” after an absence of 38 years.