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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.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Global Citizen x OkayAfrica: The Impact of Conflict on Children

An estimated 1.4 million children have been hit by schools closing in the Tigray region of Ethiopia amid conflict and crisis. Here's how that's impacting Ethiopia's children.

In times of conflict and war, school-aged children could have their futures defined by whether or not they can access education amid ongoing violence.

Ethiopia's northern region of Tigray is in the midst of a war that has impacted millions of lives and affected neighboring regions, Amhara and Afar. The war — which has forced citizens to flee, has tipped the region into famine, and has barricaded humanitarian aid from reaching the most vulnerable — has now been going on for about 11 months.

As the beginning of the school season draws nearer, safely reopening schools, making education accessible, and protecting children from the impacts of violence in the affected regions is a priority for aid agencies.

"As schools prepare to reopen in early October in most parts of the country, in Tigray and the bordering regions of Afar and Amhara, where the conflict has expanded, education remains at a standstill," Director of Education Cannot Wait, Yasmine Sherif, told Global Citizen.

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