Ouarda: An Algerian Diva
One of the most imminent singers in Algeria is Ouarda or Ouarda Al-Jazairia as she is commonly called. Ouarda was born in Puteaux in France in 1940. From an Algerian father and a Lebanese mother, she started to sing in 1951 when she was only twelve years old in Tam-Tam, an Arabic music cabaret in the Quartier Latin that belonged to her father.
The name of the place stands for the first letter of the three countries Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. One of the first to write her songs were the Tunisian Zaki Khrief. In a short time, she became famous thanks to militant Algerian songs that stayed her style until 1962. In 1958, because of her songs, she had to leave France with her family and exile in Beyrouth. After the independence of Algeria, she went back to Algeria and got married in 1962. Her husband prohibited her singing and so she did not sing for 10 years. In 1972, the Algerian president Houari Boumediane asks her to sing for 10th anniversary of the independence of Algeria, which she did and was hence divorced.
After that, she went to Egypt where she met the producer Baligh Hamdi with whom she got married. She knew a great success in Egypt as she worked with the most famous Arab producers such as Mohamed Abdelouahab, Farid Al Atrach and Sayed Mekkaoui. In Egypt, she started acting too and has played the role of the hero in more than a movie.
In October 2004, the Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika gave her a national prize during a ceremony organized to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Algerian revolution of 1954.
Ouarda has sold more than 20 million albums all around the world and has more than 300 songs and is still recording new songs.