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Iness Mezel

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Blessed with a voice that's as powerful and gutsy as it is gentle and seductive, Iness Mezel is a singer/songwriter whose multi-cultural sound fuses funk, soul, and jazz with the North African Amazigh and Berber sounds of her Kabyle roots. Born Fatiha Messaoudi to a Franco-Italian mother and an Algerian-Kabyle father, she spent the first seven years of her childhood in the small Paris suburb of St. Ouen, before moving to Algeria and then back to France, in Riom-es-Montagnes, where she developed a love of pop music. Inspired by Christopher Cross and Elton John, she studied the piano at her local conservatory, and after graduating with a law degree from the University of Paris, she took singing lessons with La Camerata de Paris' Nicole Maison. A regular stand-in singer for various bands in the Chatelet area, she practiced jazz improv with continental vocalist Sara Lazarus and joined the backing group of renowned Algerian musician Djur Djura before forming a duo with sister Malika. After releasing their debut album, Berber Singing Goes World in 1997, which was later reissued under the title of Wedfel two years later, Malika quit due to personal reasons. Mezel went on alone, releasing the follow-up Len in 2003, and after an eight-year gap, returned with her third album, Beyond the Trance, a collaboration with Robert Plant guitarist Justin Adams. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi

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