Mariem Hassan

The voice of the Exile of Western Sahara

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Mariem Biography

Mariem Hassan sings music from the Western Sahara. Her people are Saharawis living in exile on Algerian lands. The women singers are the pillars of the refugee camps. They articulate the social life, raise the children, and humanize their living conditions until they are able to elevate their community beyond mere survival during the years of their exile.
In a rare interview, translated from Spanish, Mariem talked about her music and her life: "When I began to compose I did not have no instrument with me, only a drum. A poet sees a woman and she describes it and she makes a poem, but I no, I do the things singing.
"When I have problems I say: Mulana (God), ay! The life is thus, if some has problems, if some is ill, some is dead, some lives well, some lives bad, some has problems with its family, its government, its work, the life follows. For example, if my husband is dead, have I died also? No, I must think now about living, and how they, my children, are going to live in the future."
After the Spaniards abandoned the Saharawi colony, the Western Sahara was occupied by Morocco and Mauritania. The Saharawi people fled to Algerian lands and founded the Saharawi Democratic Arab Republic, recognized by 76 countries. These songs are their story.
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