Photo Credit: Ebru Yildiz

On October 23rd via Partisan Records, Tunisian-born/New York-based experimental singer Emel will release ‘The Tunis Diaries’ – a new album, split into two parts, featuring a collection of newly recorded reworks from Emel’s catalog (‘Day’), and an eclectic selection of covers (‘Night’). Equipped with only a laptop, tape recorder, and a classical guitar she crowdsourced from a local fan via Facebook, Emel created ‘The Tunis Diaries’ entirely in Tunis after she was unexpectedly quarantined in her childhood home this Spring. The resulting project is a back-to-basics exploration of Emel’s roots, as well as a spontaneous and complex reflection on her relationship to her homeland. Two tracks from ‘The Tunis Diaries’ are available now – “Holm,” an original song which was first released alongside a self-shot music video (1.4M views and counting) this April, and a sui generis cover of David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold The World”. Listen below and feel free to share:

Emel – “Holm”
Emel – “The Man Who Sold The World” (David Bowie cover)

Emel elaborates the origins and creation of ‘The Tunis Diaries’:

When COVID-19 arrived, I was visiting my family in Tunis and ended up being confined inside my childhood home, where my daughter and I had gone to celebrate my father’s 85th birthday.

I was separated from my husband, my band, my collaborators, and all my equipment. But I was immersed in a feeling of nostalgia and memory, surrounded by the blossoming wildflowers, tweeting birds, and blue skies of my hometown. Also, thankfully I was sheltered in with two of my favorite people in the world. Together we were three generations under the same roof – free from school, work, and from outside world distractions. These feelings drove me to want to create, and to revisit the old spirits that haunted my early years as an artist.

For me, this is an intimate project that captures how I passed a big portion of my confinement. It ended up being much deeper than I would have ever imagined, and a unique journey with my father and my daughter that taught me a lot about myself, family, and giving. It is also a tribute to my home city Tunis, that gave me so much. This is an effort to give my city and fans the sense of togetherness that they shared with me during those confusing and scary times.

Read more HERE, from a moving essay that she has shared today via social media.

This July, Emel brought together a group of 53 musicians, artists, singers and actors from around the world to perform a star-studded remote rendition of her most well-known song, “Kelmti Horra (My Word is Free)”. The performance earned international praise from The National, Gulf Today, Khaleej Times, with Vogue Arabia calling it “an overwhelming display of unity”. Watch that HERE

Emel also recently performed for the Royal Albert Hall’s #RoyalAlbertHome remote concert series. Watch that HERE

Emel’s previous album – ‘Everywhere We Looked Was Burning’ – was released last year via Partisan and received some of the best reviews of her career. It was her first sung almost entirely in English after previously only recording a handful of tracks in the language, with NPR declaring her “the 21st century catalyst for change”. Watch the poignant music video for the title track, which and features relevant images of turmoil and conflict from around the globe: HERE

Emel rose to fame after a video of her performing “Kelmti Horra (My Word is Free)” generated millions of views throughout the 2011 Tunisian Revolution. That song served as the anthem for the Arab Spring, gave its name to her debut album ‘Kelmti Horra’, and took her to the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Concert where she performed it to thunderous applause.


‘The Tunis Diaries’ tracklist:

1. Holm
2. Ma Lkit
3. Fi Kolli Yawmen
4. Libertà
5. Princess Melancholy
6. Merrouh
7. Dhalem
8. Everywhere We Looked Was Burning
9. Sallem

1. Something In The Way (Nirvana cover)
2. The Man Who Sold The World (David Bowie cover)
3. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (Black Sabbath cover)
4. Every You Every Me (Placebo cover)
5. One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong (Leonard Cohen cover)
6. Frühling in Paris (Rammstein cover)
7. Aerials (System Of A Down cover)
8. New Year’s Prayer (Jeff Buckley cover)
9. War Child (The Cranberries cover)

More info:
Official Site

Or please contact rebecca@sonicpr.co.uk