Algerian singer Idir, a Berber icon, has died in Paris

In this file photo taken on April 23, 2000 Algerian singer Idir performs during the 24th Printemps de Bourges music festival. (AFP)
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Updated 03 May 2020

Algerian singer Idir, a Berber icon, has died in Paris

  • Saturday’s death of the singer was confirmed on a post on his official Facebook page
  • French media report that he died from pulmonary disease after being hospitalized on Friday

PARIS: Idir, an Algerian singer who gave voice to the Berber and Kabyle cultures, has died in Paris. He was 70.
Saturday’s death of the singer, whose real name was Hamid Cheriet, was confirmed on a post on his official Facebook page that read “we regret to announce the passing of our father (to all), Idir. Rest in peace.”
French media report that he died from pulmonary disease after being hospitalized on Friday.
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune paid tribute to him on Twitter, saying that “with his passing, Algeria has lost one of its monuments,” and referred to him as “an icon of Algerian art.”
Idir was a national treasure in his native Algeria.
Born on Oct. 25, 1949 in Ait Lahcene, near the Kabylie capital of Tizi Ouzou and part of French Algeria at the time, he studied to be a geologist, but his life took a twist in 1973 when he was called up as a last-minute replacement on the radio to sing “A Vava Inouva.” It was a lullaby with the “rich oral traditions” of the Berber culture and became a beloved song in the country.
Idir moved to France in 1975, after finishing military service, where he recorded his first album, also titled “A Vava Inouva,” and a series of popular North African-style songs in the same decade.
The style of his music, with lone vocals and acoustic guitar, championed the sounds of Kabyle music, and as such he was widely considered an ambassador of the Kabyle culture.
The Berber-speaking Kabyle people are a sub-group of North and West Africa’s wider Berber ethnic population. In Algeria, the Kabyles are a minority that have historically been repressed by the central government and are indigenous to the north of the country, spanning the Atlas Mountains. Many Kabyle settled in France following the Algerian civil war.


Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan tests positive for COVID-19

Updated 39 min 34 sec ago

Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan tests positive for COVID-19

MUMBAI:  Three generations of Bollywood’s Bachchan family were hit by the coronavirus as former Miss World Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and her daughter on Sunday joined her father-in-law Amitabh and husband Abhishek in testing positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.

Maharashtra state health minister Rajesh Tope said in a tweet that Aishwarya and her eight-year-old daughter had tested positive for the virus.

It was not clear whether they had been admitted to hospital, as Amitabh, a legendary Indian actor, and Abhishek were on Saturday, when they said they had mild symptoms of COVID-19.

Hospital officials and government health authorities said earlier on Sunday that Amitabh and his son were in stable condition.

Aishwarya, 46, who often features on “most beautiful” lists, has worked in several Bollywood and Hollywood films. She is a brand ambassador for several multinational companies, including L’Oreal.

Amitabh said in a tweet on Saturday night that he had tested positive for the infectious virus. 

Within minutes, his actor son Abhishek, 44, tweeted that he had also tested positive.

Both were moved to the Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai despite showing only mild symptoms and the father-son duo appealed to their millions of fans to stay calm.

Authorities launched a massive sanitising drill at Bachchan’s upscale residence in Mumbai, spraying disinfectant in the large compound and on cars parked there.