Artistic Identities and Professional Strategies: Francophone Musicians in France and Britain

Marie-Pierre Gibert, Nadia Kiwan

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This article will focus on the ways in which musicians of North African origin—either born in North Africa or in France and living in France and Britain—define their musical and artistic identities in relation to their national origins, place of birth, migration trajectories and location in which they perform their music. In particular, the article will focus on how perceptions of musicians’ national and post-migrant identities vary according to their location on either side of the Channel but also according to how the musicians themselves choose to present their music, depending on whether they are based in France or Britain. In addition to the individual strategies adopted by musicians, the article also considers how the shifting socio-political contexts in post-9/11 France and Britain have affected the choices and opportunities available to artists of North African origin in both national contexts.
Cet article examine les multiples manières dont les musiciens d’origine maghrébine – qu’ils soient nés au Maghreb ou en France et vivant en France et en Grande-Bretagne – définissent leurs identités musicales et artistiques en fonction de leurs origines nationales, leurs pays de naissance, leurs parcours migratoires et les lieux où ils créent de la musique. En particulier, l’article aborde la question de la perception des identités nationales et post-migratoires des musiciens et la manière dont celles-ci dépendent de l’ancrage en France ou en Grande-Bretagne mais aussi des volontés subjectives des musiciens eux-mêmes. Au-delà d’une discussion des stratégies individuelles adoptées par les musiciens, l’article considère les bouleversements socio-politiques en France et en Grande-Bretagne depuis les attentats du 11 septembre 2001 et la manière dont les choix et les opportunités proposés aux musiciens maghrébins dans les deux contextes ont évolué.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-269
Number of pages17
JournalModern and Contemporary France
Issue number3
Early online date5 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by Arts and Humanities Research Council [grant number AH/E508628/1] and European Commission [grant number HPSE-CT-2002-00133].


  • North African musicians
  • France
  • UK
  • métissage
  • fusion music


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