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Voice of Tunisian Revolution at Stewart

The Arab Spring — a wave of popular uprisings that drove four dictators from power and shook the Arab world to its core — began in Tunisia in December 2010. Tunisia’s transition to democracy has been the most successful among all the Arab Spring countries, a fact recognized by the Nobel committee when they awarded the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize to Tunisia’s National Dialogue Quartet, a group of civil society organizations that brokered peace among the country’s factions.

When the Tunisian Arab Spring revolutionaries took to the streets, they adopted as their anthem the song Kelmti Horra (“My Word Is Free”), by Tunisian singer, songwriter and guitarist Emel Mathlouthi, earning her the nickname “the Voice of the Tunisian Revolution.” Mathlouthi will perform in concert in Talley Student Union’s Stewart Theatre on Thursday, Oct. 29, at 8 p.m.

Mathlouthi’s music springs from deep roots in Tunisian folk songs, but it’s also influenced by such Western artists as Joan Baez, Björk, Massive Attack and her collaborator Tricky. The resulting intricate sound moves between rock, trip-hop and electronica, interlaced with strong Arabic and North African connections. Mathlouthi released her debut album, also titled Kelmti Horra, in 2012.

Tickets for Mathlouthi’s performance are available online, in person at Ticket Central in the lobby of Thompson Hall or by phone at 919-515-1100.

Before the show, Philip Van Vleck will give a talk on Mathlouthi’s music in room 3285 of Talley Student Union at 7 p.m. Van Vleck teaches European history at NC State and has been a music journalist for more than 20 years.

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