Video: Stambeli, a History in Music - Tunisia Live Video: Stambeli, a History in Music - Tunisia Live
Video: Stambeli, a History in Music


Video: Stambeli, a History in Music

Sidi Abdelsalam (Source: Sidi Abdelsalam Facebook Page)

Sidi Abdeslam is a Stambeli music troupe, led by Belhassen Mihoub. They play every Wednesday during Ramadan at the Mrabet Café in Tunis’ Medina.

Belhassen Mihoub Stambeli Music Group

Stambeli, brought to Tunisia by people trafficked as slaves from Sub-Saharan Africa, combines music, words and dance from multiple traditions. During the ritual, some go into a trance said to be the embodiment of supernatural entities.

In Tunisia, the history of Stambeli dates back to the arrival of the first slaves during the 18th and 19th centuries. Many were trafficked from Mali, principally from Timbuktu. Practicing Stambeli in the country of their oppressors, the people preserved their traditions for later generations.

Though still practiced in 2016, this musical heritage has faded in popularity, and runs the risk of slipping into obscurity.

Stambeli musicians use qraqeb, hand-held metal percussion instruments similar to castanets, and the guembri, a three-stringed instrument similar to a mandolin, traditionally made from a hollowed log, camel skin and goat gut strings.

Youssef graduated from ISAMM where he has studied Communication and Multimedia. He's been active within the FTCA since 2010, taking part in the festival and directing two short films, one of which is animated. Youssef is interested in music, cinema, theater, video games, photography and movie-making.