Singers, Saints, and the Construction of Postcolonial Subjectivities in Algeria



Through a close study of the multivocal plays ofintertextuality in the "new songs" of Algeria's Berber Cultural Movement, this paper explores how genres can support the emergence of new forms of self-recognition and promote novel possibilities for engagement with older expressive forms. Via double-voiced parodies of religious chants known as adekker, the new Berber singers call into question the "magical" powers of saints and exhort the population to relinquish the notion that saints control human destiny. Paradoxically, however, this interplay of genres generates unexpected interpretive possibilities, which in some cases subvert new song's secularist vision.