Emel Mathlouthi
800px-Emel Mathlouthi - Cabaret Frappé 2012
Emel Mathlouthi in 2012
Background information
Born (1982-01-11) January 11, 1982 (age 36)
Tunis, Tunisia
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Years active 2008–present

Emel Mathlouthi (Arabic: آمال المثلوثي) is a Tunisian singer-songwriter best known for her protest songs "Ya Tounes Ya Meskina" (Poor Tunisia) and "Kelmti Horra" (My Word is Free) which became anthems for the Tunisian revolution and the 2011 Egyptian revolution. Her first studio album, also titled Kelmti Horra, was released worldwide by Harmonia Mundi in 2012 to critical acclaim.

Early life and career

Mathlouthi first began writing songs as a student. Frustrated by the lack of opportunities and the apathy of her classmates and family, she began writing political songs like "Ya Tounes Ya Meskina" ("Poor Tunisia"). In 2006 she was a finalist in the Prix RMC Moyen-Orient Musique competition. She decided to move to Paris, France in 2008 when the Tunisian government banned her songs from the radio and TV.Although banned from Tunisian airwaves, bootlegs of her live performances in France circulated on the internet in Tunisia. After the death of Mohamed Bouazizi she dedicated an Arabic version of the Joan Baez song "Here's To You" to him. She was recorded on the Avenue Habib Bourguiba singing "Kelmti Horra" to protesters and it became a viral video. She released her first album Kelmti Horra in January 2012. The album was influenced by Joan Baez, Massive attack and Björk. She has given concerts in Egypt and Iraq, and performed in Canada at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival and the Festival du Monde Arabe de Montréal. Beginning of July 2012, she gave a groundbreaking concert in Baghdad, Iraq. On July 28 she gave a concert at the Sfinks Festival in Belgium, where she received a standing ovation for her cover of the Leonard Cohen song "Hallelujah". In 2013, her first concert in Cairo after the revolution had a huge success and Ahram Online described her as "The Fairuz of her generation" She opened for Dead Can Dance in the festival Les nuits de Fourviere in Lyon and performed at the Womad Festival at Charlton's Park UK. Israeli authorities refused to let her enter Ramallah to perform, so she sang in front of a camera in Jordan. The small show was broadcast to the Palestinian audience in a theatre in Ramallah.


Date City Country
May 26, 2012 Angoulême France
June 18, 2012 Bursa Turkey
June 19, 2012 Konya Turkey
June 21, 2012 Tunis Tunisia
June 22, 2012 Lisbon Portugal
June 24, 2012 Audincourt France
June 28, 2012 Montgiscard France
June 30, 2012 Châlons-en-Champagne France
July 3, 2012 Baghdad Iraq
July 7, 2012 Rudolstadt Germany
July 8, 2012 Rudolstadt Germany
July 10, 2012 Stuttgart Germany
July 11, 2012 Hanover Germany
July 14, 2012 Vancouver Canada
July 17, 2012 Montreal Canada
July 19, 2012 Robion France
July 21, 2012 Barcelona Spain
July 22, 2012 Mèze France
July 23, 2012 Grenoble France
July 28, 2012 Boechout Belgium
August 3, 2012 Floreffe Belgium
August 4, 2012 Brest France
August 19, 2012 Zurich Switzerland
September 22, 2012 Meaux France
September 23, 2012 Barcelona Spain
Date City Country
January 28, 2013 Paris France
March 12, 2013 Meylan France
March 16, 2013 Balzac France
March 21, 2013 Niort France
March 22, 2013 Montlouis-sur-Loire France
March 23, 2013 Ludwigshafen Germany
March 30, 2013 Saint-Brieuc France
April 2, 2013 Verdun France
April 4, 2013 [Vire France
April 5, 2013 Brest France
April 13, 2013 Marseille France
April 18, 2013 Innsbruck Austria
April 19, 2013 Bregenz Austria
April 26, 2013 Cairo Egypt
May 10, 2013 Ljubljana Slovenia
May 16, 2013 Istanbul Turkey
May 24, 2013 Rabat Morocco
June 14, 2013 Montreal Canada
June 22, 2013 Miramas France
June 27, 2013 Moissac France
July 28, 2013 WOMAD United Kingdom
June 30, 2013 Amman Jordan
July 1, 2013 Ramallah Palestine
Date City Country
March 8, 2014 Adelaide Australia


  • 2012 Kelmti Horra
Contributing artist
  • 2013 The Rough Guide To Arabic Revolution (World Music Network)

External links