Saturday, December 03, 2011

Orchestre National de Barbès: lawah lawah

For the weekend, a guilty pleasure.

Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian musicians. . .

The name of the band is a wry joke. . .   Barbès is in Paris's 18th arrondissement

If memory serves me well, Emile Zola's novel Nana begins in the Goutte d'Or (gutter of gold) in Barbès. At that time the area was a refuge for the poor recently made homeless by the clearance by Haussmann of whole sections of the city centre to create the boulevards and prospects as they are today.

Soon after the area became first port of call for workers from France's rural provinces, followed by workers from Belgium, Italy, Poland, and Spain. Since the 1950s, Barbès has been a starting point for workers from ex-French Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia. It has some great couscous restaurants. 

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