Partisan Records

Emel Mathlouthi makes her English language debut

Ahead of a run of headline shows in France, Tunisian experimental singer Emel Mathlouthi has shared a new song + video entitled “Footsteps.” The expansive, contemplative track is Emel’s first-ever song sung entirely in English, and will appear on her upcoming full-length album out later this year.

Speaking about “Footsteps,” directed by Ahmed Ayed, Emel says:

"Footsteps" was written in upstate New York in the month of November—the leaves were still holding onto the last brightness of their colors, multiple gold and fire shades that evoked a depth and a melancholy. This was intensified by the discovery of an abandoned, once beautiful home, where besides a collapsed part of the roof, the inside was almost intact. Inside, I found multitude of personal objects like shoes, furniture, and paintings, and it created a sad chaos to see how the history of a rich living past was mixed with the collapsed present. I wondered what could have happened to the people who lived here. What made them leave all of their meaning and history behind? "Footsteps" is a song that’s haunted by this mysterious, rich living past that somebody left behind, agonizing on a fading floor.

Emel recently wrapped up a US tour with OM, and tickets for all her upcoming French dates are on sale now. Full itinerary here.

In addition, on May 2nd Emel will be honored with a Special Recognition Award by the Arab American Institute Foundation at a special event and performance in Washington DC. More info here.

Emel’s last album 'Ensen' was produced with Valgeir Sigurðson (Sigur Ros, Feist, Bjork), and earned profiles with NPR Music, Pitchfork, The Fader, The Guardian, Brooklyn Magazine, Nowness, WNYC + lots more. She was also recently featured in NPR Music's expansive '200 Best Songs By 21st Century Women' feature. More info on Emel’s new album coming soon.

Emel rose to fame after a video of her performing a stunning version of her song "Kemti Horra (My Word Is Free)" during a Tunisian street protest went viral online during the Arab Spring. Her music was ultimately banned from Tunisian radio airwaves and earned her the title "voice of the Tunisian revolution." In 2015 she was asked to perform "Kemti Horra (My Word Is Free)" at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony for its significance during the uprising.

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