Roger Holdsworth and Deb Welch with Zazi (NubeNegra Records) and Womadelaide performer Mariem Hassan

“They both live around Barcelona and obviously know each other. But it was fascinating to see Mariem Hassan, ‘the voice of the Sahara’, in traditional Saharauis dress, pumping the air to the flamenco scratch and rap of Ojos de Brujo. She cheered and ululated as Ojos did their high energy set, than wandered into our Radio Adelaide broadcast tent backstage for a chat. View live performance >>

Mariem talked about the responsibility she feels for portraying and communicating Saharaui culture, especially in a situation where her people are in exile in refugee camps (in Algeria) or under occupation. From a repertoire that talked of political and armed struggle, she now also sings about love and family – and also about betrayal. Her most recent CD is called Shouka – The Thorn, and she remains a cultural thorn to remind us all of a forgotten struggle of a dispossessed people.