Algerian singer Hamid Cheriet, better known by his stage name Idir, sadly passed away on Saturday, May 2 amongst family in Paris. The cause of death was pulmonary disease according to AFP, and he will reportedly be buried there in the French capital. A statement by his family posted on Idir’s official Facebook page read: “We regret to announce the passing of our father (to all). Rest in peace, Dad.”
Idir was born in Ath Yenni, a village in the Tizi Ouzou province in Grande Kabylie, in 1949. The star was well-loved for his passion and fervor for the Berber genre and for performing in the Kabyle language, which is named after Kabylie, the region in northern Algeria. He interwove his patriotism and for his home country throughout his career in his music and became one of the most popular musicians to sing in Kabyle.
After moving to France in 1975 to work on his music, he released his debut album just a year later. Dubbed A Vava Inouva, the title track from the record became an instant hit and was subsequently translated into seven languages.
In 1979 he brought out a follow-up album dubbed Ay Arrac Negh, before taking a break from music. His welcome return to the scene was in the form of record, Les Chasseurs de Lumieres, released in 1993. Idir’s most recent album, Here and Elsewhere, came out back in 2017.
Algeria’s President, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, took to Twitter to post a tribute to the star.
ببالغ الحزن والأسى تلقيت نبأ وفاة المرحوم حميد شريت المدعو فنيًا إيدير، أيقونة الفن الجزائري و صاحب السمعة العالمية. بهذا المصاب تفقد الجزائر هرما من أهراماتها. رحمه الله وأدخله فسيح جناته وألهم ذويه و محبيه جميل الصبر والسلوان إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون.
— عبدالمجيد تبون – Abdelmadjid Tebboune (@TebbouneAmadjid) May 3, 2020
The touching note in Arabic read: “I learnt with great sadness and sorrow the news of the death of Idir, an icon of Algerian art. With his death, Algeria loses one of its monuments.”