Abdel Ali Slimani

Abdel Ali Slimani was born in the U Anasser district of Algiers, the heart of a vibrant cosmopolitan port with one eye on Europe, the other on Africa. Music was a pervasive aspect of his childhood, from traditional Saharan and Berber dances to Western funk to reggae and Arab styles. During his teens he witnessed the explosion of Rai music, a youthful revolution headed by Khaled. Ali was entranced and dreamed of becoming a singer.

After traveling and working around Europe he settled in England, where he became known as a DJ and Rai enthusiast amongst the North African community in London, whipping up storms at weddings and parties as well as singing and playing impromptu sessions.

In 1991, when Jah Wobble was looking for a new singer for his Invaders of the Heart band, Ali came to his attention. Within three weeks of their first meeting, he was singing onstage at a WOMAD festival in Toronto, Canada. The new Invaders line-up caused a sensation.

Over the next three years Ali Slimani was an integral part of the Invaders of the Heart line-up, which transcended musical boundaries and created powerful and inspiring music, in concerts all over the world and on record. His contribution to the classic Take Me To God album was considered by many to be a highlight of a star-studded recording.

Ali duetted with Sinead O’Connor on the 12″ version of her ‘Fire In Babylon’ single, and put in an astonishing performance on Top of the Pops – the first Arab singer ever to appear on the legendary TV programme.

Further reading

Live: The Breath at Trinity Centre, Bristol

The Breath performed a captivating full-band set to a wildly receptive Bristol crowd.

The Gloaming announce 2019 National Concert Hall dates in Dublin

The Gloaming return for their annual run of shows at the Dublin venue in 2019.

A look back on Geoffrey Oryema’s 1993 video for ‘The River’

Marking the 25th anniversary of Beat The Border, the official video for 'The River' is now online....

Real World Sessions: Remmy Ongala & Super Matimila, 17 August 1991

Rupert Hine and Stephen W Tayler look back on the 1991 session which yielded Remmy Ongala's 'Mambo'.