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L’Expression: Culture – “Music, my freedom…”

Ambassador of Algerian raggae, with influences rooted in chaâbi, traditional music and soul, Ahmed Djamil Ghouli was on tour last month of Ramadan with his band “Djam”, which took him to different cities in Algeria, namely Constantine, Annaba, Tlemcen, Oran, Algiers and Béjaïa. To immortalize his highlights, Oxygen Prod Management followed him so as not to miss anything. An 80-minute documentary film was born following this great human and artistic adventure. Its name: ´´The djam tour, we do it for the culture´´. A documentary produced by Oxygen Prod, which has chosen the date of July 30 to present the world premiere of this film before trying the experience of festivals… A first for this production company and event show that sees big. “The Djam Tour” could have been limited to a simple making off, it has, moreover, the premises and the outlines, so well behind the scenes are told, and the stages of the journey restored, but he chose to extend his vision even more by looking for the human side or what is hidden behind each artist and thus flushing out their philosophy of life… When asked, all the musicians praise the quality of Djam.
In life as on the stage
This is the case of Amine Dehane, composer, arranger and conductor who needs no introduction. The latter will point out at the end of the screening that this film through his meeting with Djam constitutes “an exemplary moment in my career”, he will say with emotion. “I was a spontaneous actor, because nothing was written” will note, for his part, in the preamble, Ahmed Djamil Ghouli. The film is directed by Youcef Bentis who has other films and awards to his credit, including that of the President of the Republic Ali Maachi for the best young director of the year 2021. The latter, for his part, will confide that he didn’t know Djam before starting the shoot. He will get to know him as he goes along, following him everywhere, on his trail, even in the worst moments, the unusual moments, whether it is when he is sick, vomiting, in the toilets of the hotel, late at night or even during a moment of extreme loneliness when Djam realizes that his guitar with which he has been playing for eight years is broken… And it is a Djamil steeped in melancholy alone in his room that we will see lamenting before finding a smile and hope, on stage, in the company of his musicians, his two female choristers, during rehearsals or even… in the company of his loving mother on stage. This mother of whom he will not stop praising whether in the film or in his presence, Saturday evening… The image of Youcef Bentis is beautiful by the way. There is light that crosses his moments of life, poetry and appeasement. Conversely, the stage moments are captured and edited in a moose kaleidoscope of madness, dance and joy, flanked by a frantic pace to breathe more life and symbiosis into this tour. That of a band of artists, united in life as well as on stage and who are presented in the end as a nucleus of the same well-knit family, who love each other…
From Djmawi Africa to Djam
Djamil talks about his passion for music and the love he has for his guitar, which is quite heavy, but which nevertheless gives him confidence when he carries it on his shoulder like a weapon on the back of a warrior. …the film also makes us discover the musicians who gravitate around him, managing to capture through their testimonies, some intimate confidences like the two choristers, Meriem Saci and Kamelia Tebib. Both dropped everything to come to Algeria. One living in Canada and the other in Paris. Both confess their unfailing attachment to their Algerian roots and thank Djam for this beautiful gift which allowed them to evolve within a deeply benevolent musical formation…which is not often the case… The film is crossed by some archive images of the beginnings of Ahmed Djamili Ghouli, who will recognize a fact: “If I am here today it is thanks to the group Djmawi Africa”. And to specify, however, the reasons for his departure: “I decided to leave the group, a few years later, because there was a level problem..” And to estimate in the film: “It took courage to leave a working machine. I do not regret. Music gave me a reason to live. Thanks to her, today I am fulfilled. I sacrificed a lot of things to achieve this freedom,” confided Djamil in this documentary which uses flashbacks via images of him dating back 15 years… “I tried to tell a story that can motivate others to do the same. It was a challenge for me because you had to give everyone the time they needed because it wasn’t just a film about Djam. I wanted to show an Algerian man who can succeed on his own, through his sacrifices, his risk-taking with his solo project…” And Amine Dehane concludes with enthusiasm and sincerity: “It is a duty to do music for an artist like that!”. Ex-leader of the group Djmawi Africa, let’s remember, Djam released in 2018 his first self-production album with a very offbeat title, “Zdeldel”. Since then, Djam has never stopped creating and surveying new styles, always mixing his Algerian roots with his African goodness. Djam has not finished talking about him. For those who don’t know him yet, “The djam tour, we do it for the culture” is already a good introduction. A kind of business card to get to know a little about the man, between mood and humor and then the artist, especially between his doubts and his dreams and then and above all his immeasurable love for music.

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