Souad Massi left Algeria for France to become a major celebrity with her unlikely fusion of north African styles and sad, gentle western folk ballads. Now she is moving on. The overall mood is still quietly tragic, and enthusiasts of her gently powerful singing and thoughtful songs will be delighted by Hagda Wala Akter (There's Worse) which deals with the depressing life of a friend back in Algiers, or a personal lament like Khalouni. But like some female Algerian answer to Morrissey, she is clever enough to match bleak lyrics with subtle and increasingly varied musical settings. So on the exquisite Malou, she brings in flamenco influences and on Ilham she provides a vocal reminder of her Berber roots.
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