Recording artist Akli D is one of his generation’s leading folk heroes, mixing the North African music of his upbringing with a variety of world genres, including blues, reggae, and more. Born Akli Dehlis in the village of Kerouan, Akli was surrounded by the music of his native Berber people, the pre-Arab inhabitants of the southern Mediterranean coastline. His mother a folksinger, Akli took to music naturally. He began synthesizing his loves for the music of his heritage, and the music he heard on American and French radio while in his teens. Forced to relocate to France as a result of regional political strife, Akli became a street musician performing in and around Paris. Though busy with a variety of artistic pursuits, including working as an accompanist and actor, Akli dedicated much of his time to composing. Experimenting with a variety of styles, Akli developed an extensive original repertoire. After some time in the U.S. and U.K., he released his debut record, Anefas Trankil, in 2001. The recording featured a variety of musical styles and lyrics in many languages, an homage to Akli’s culturally unique and mixed upbringing. His life would change forever some years later at a corner café popular among Arabs and North Africans for its late-night jam sessions. Akli met Spanish folk/fusion music star Manu Chao, who was impressed by his poetic lyrics and unique musicianship. Chao suggested that they produce a record together, and a short time later Ma Yela was born. Stylistically diverse and adventurous, the record spent five months in the World Music Charts Europe Top 20. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez, All Music Guide
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