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Emel’s Tunisian Folk Electronica Is a Symbol of Political Resistance

Tunisian singer Emel Mathlouthi announces her upcoming album and shares her latest, politically-charged single "Ensen Dhaif."

Emel Mathlouthi’s music has been a symbol of political resistance in her home country, Tunisia, ever since her song “Kelmti Horra (My Word Is Free)” became the anthem of the Arab Spring in 2010.


The song manifested itself as a poignant battle cry for those raising their voices in opposition of oppressive governments.

Emel is returning, with a new album Ensen and a resounding, percussion-filled lead single in tow.

“Ensen Dhaif” sees the singer’s emphatic lyrics and expressive delivery set atop pulsing production—a sound reminiscent of M.I.A’s brand of bold electro-rap. Emel points to Bjork, Massive Attack and James Blake as the inspirations for her unique intermix of Tunisian folk music, electronica and rock.

“Ensen Dhaif” is no less politically charged than the singer’s previous offerings. In an interview with Pitchfork, she describes the gutsy single as “a dedication to people who have to carry the weight and all the struggles so that a very small percentage can enjoy the power.”

Listen to the track and watch Emel’s album announcement clip below. Ensen is due out February 24 via Partisan Records.

We previously mentioned Emel in our piece about Rap and Resistance in North Africa, revisit the article here.

Photo by Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez

Dying Lagoons Reveal Mexico’s Environmental Racism

In the heart of a traditionally Black and Indigenous use area in Southwest Mexico, decades of environmental destruction now threatens the existence of these communities.

On an early morning in September 2017, in a little fishing village in the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, called Zapotalito, thousands of dead fish floated on the surface of the Chacahua-Pastoría lagoons. A 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which rattled Mexico City on September 19, was felt as far down as Zapotalito, and the very next morning, its Black, Indigenous and poor Mestizo residents, who depend on the area's handful of lagoons for food and commerce, woke up to an awful smell and that terrible scene of floating fish.

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