Idir was born in Aït Lahcène, a Berber village in Haute-Kabylie. This farmer's son started studying Geology and was destined for a career in the petroleum industry before his rise to stardom. Idir has been the ambassador of the Kabyle culture, especially the Kabyle music, with only his vocals and acoustic guitar. Idir has always used his status to claim his Berber (Amazigh) identity. His first album A Vava Inouva
came out in 1976, and the song "A Vava Inouva" was translated into seven languages. After notable success, Idir wrote and recorded his second album Ay Arrac Negh
(meaning To our children) in 1979.Idir restarted his career again with the release of a compilation in 1991 of seventeen songs from his first two albums "A Vava Inouva" and "Ay Arrac Negh".In 1993, a new album Les Chasseurs de lumières
(meaning the hunters of lights) appeared on the Blue Silver label. "Les Chasseurs de lumières" is about (his) predilection, love, freedom and exile (which he had known since he moved to the Paris region in 1975). The acoustic guitar gives to the songs of this album a touch of modernism. We can also hear the voice of the Breton singer Alan Stivell in the duo "Isaltiyen".Idir restarted his career once again with Identités
in 1999, a tribute album which joined numerous artists together including Manu Chao, Dan Ar Braz, Maxime Le Forestier, and Karen Matheson for a "A Vava Inouva 2". Also included were Gnawa Diffusion, Zebda, Gilles Servat, Geoffrey Oryema and the Orchestre National de Barbès.In 2008, he had a single with "Tout ce temps" written by Zaho. He insisted that she join in for the release of the single as a duo.Idir is also the author of "A tulawin", a music that has been made famous by Manu Chao's version named "Denia" (Poor Algeria), in his album Próxima Estación: Esperanza
Identity and Activism
Idir has participated in many concerts supporting different causes. For example, on June 22, 1995, more than 6,000 people attended a concert for peace, freedom and tolerance performed by the singer and his friend Khaled, initiators of the association "l'Algérie la vie" (Algeria the life). Idir also took part in the concert in memory of Matoub Lounes, the Kabyle singer who was assassinated in 1998.Idir defended his national identity once again at "Le Zénith" in Paris in the spring of 2001 at the "21st Berber Spring", a celebration of Berber culture. And on July 8, he organised a special fund-raising concert to support the population in Kabylie when anti-government riots rocked the cradle of Berber culture in the summer of 2001. Idir was joined by a number of stars and thousands of Algerian and French fans who turned out to "Le Zénith" to support the population in Kabylie.