Back to the Turkish-Tunisian artist formula

AA / Tunisia / Malek Jomny

Very attached to her Turkish origins since childhood, Emile Agrebi greets us at her home and shares with us her love for her ancestral country and her passion for art in general and music and theater in particular. Episodes of his life.

– Turkish-Tunisian blood

Born in Beja, on February 18, 1942, Emile spent only one year of his life in his homeland.

“I did not live long but I have a great love and special affection for this land. My father worked there for a good decade in the French court as an interpreter and chief clerk. Time and my mother spoke. Me for the time being “.

His father, Mohamed Aziz Agrebi, whose mother is Turkish, was simultaneously a Tunisian theater producer and music teacher. He died in a car accident in Tripoli in 1968 at the age of 65, where he had formed the Libyan Theater Troupe before the arrival of Moammar Gadhafi.

Her mother, Kemar, was a housewife and educated her daughters in Turkish, although they all went to French school. He established among them the values ​​and traditions of the crossroads of civilization, as it is called, in Turkey. The same goes for eating habits: Turkish coffee and Turkish breakfast were part of the daily life of Email and her sisters.

“Because of my 75% Turkish blood, I consider myself a complete Turkish, which I inherited from both my mother and father. I love, moreover, the language that I try to practice every time I go to my country,” he explained. Did. That goes back to its Turkish origins, in fact, in a few generations.

“My great-grandfather, General Rachid, who first came from” his native Turkey, “at the age of 18, was adopted and raised by Ahmed Bay, who forced him to study Arabic and French, married a Tunisian woman with whom he had children, and He served as army chief during the Crimean War and was executed at the age of 56 by Zadok Bay for being “too close” to the people.

The email told us, for the anecdote, in the first year of Tunisia’s independence, when his mother was just 15 years old, hoisted the Turkish flag on the porch. “We are known as local Turks and we have good relations with our Tunisian neighbors.”

– I spend my life singing

The Agrebis often listened to early Turkish music at home and thus developed a fondness for Emel songs. His father was also a composer of the oriental “Muwashahat”.

These are free-form poems from the late 8th century (or 11th century depending on the source) and have their origins in Muslim Andalusia. “He had a way of singing a little Turkish,” she recalls.

“When there was no TV and only very few radio stations, our mother only turned on the radio Ankara frequency. At a very young age, I listened to all the old Turkish songs that I loved to cover”, recalls emails with a lot of nostalgia. Before we start again: “We were attending a wedding in Sfax and I was just 17 years old when my father heard me sing for the first time in his life. He was one of the pearls of Om Kalthum that evening and he was so proud of me in the process, he gave me Izmir Promised to enroll in a music school but my mother refused to allow me to start a career in this project “

“After my father’s death, I decided to take revenge by singing at a private party with friends and family. I even once sang with Lebanese composer and musician Audi Al-Safi at a great restaurant in Paris. Directed in the 1950s, and was a student of Amr Ben Ayed, who himself was a student until his death. Federico Garcia Lorca’s “La Mason de Bernarda Albade” as well as Robert Thomas’ “The Eight Women”.

Email spends her life singing because she loves to do it and she makes sure to convey her passion for her two children, the result of a love marriage with footballer Noureddine Ben Yahmed, better known as “Diva” with whom she returned to Tunisia in France. Before

Towards the end of the meeting, Emel Agrebi sang to us a Turkish song by Samime Sanaye, which talks about spring and the season of love and is called Veer Ilkbahar Sabahi and thus we asked to show each other again.


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