Friday, May 4, 2007


Stunning and Melodious Khadja Nin

Singer, songwriter, mother, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Khadja Nin was born and raised in Burundi in a family of eight children. Music was always there,” says Khadja as she was growing up. Khadja's greatest aspiration was to become like the African songstress Miriam Makeba.

At the age of 16, she left her family and moved to then Zaire (now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo) to pursue her studies. At the age of 17, she met her future husband and moved with him into Zaire forest, where they ran some lodges for tourists in search of big thrills. Whilst there she had her son. At this point in time music to Khadja was merely a dream that would never come true.

In 1980, her life took a dramatic twist as the events that soon unfolded changed her life. She left Africa for Europe with her new family, a move which proved very tough. She first lost some of her close relatives. Then her husband suddenly died. “I was left alone with my child in a foreign country and I didn’t know anybody,” she remembers. “I applied for jobs, sometimes the lowest ones in order to make a living.”

In 1985, she met a talented musician Nicolas Fiszman, who fell artistically in love with Khadja's music talent - “this princess from out of the blue” remarks Nicolas. Soon they began to write songs together. “Nicolas is the Nin of Khadja Nin.” declares Khadja Nin.

In 1991, seduced by this duet with a unique blend of African and European sounds, BMG signed them on the spot. There was no hype on World music at the time, so they contributed to its blossoming. Their eponymous debut album was “critically acclaimed,” as Khadja says and commercially, it was a relative success too, motivating her decision to dedicate herself exclusively to music from then on.

Her second album, Ya Pili was released in 1994. She performed live numerous times - “Something essential in one’s musical career. Being on stage is the only way to improve, take risks and directly thank your fans,” she says. It was also a good way to prove that she was a complete artist.

Real fame came in 1996. In an attempt to buy itself some cultural credibility and to make a break from previous fake projects, a reputed French TV channel TFI, selected Khadja Nin as its “summer act” with her third album Sambolera, (which consisted of broadcasting one of the artist’s videos several times a day during the summer). It could have been a risky choice for the channel, as well as for Khadja herself. “People often asked if I was not afraid of being swallowed up by TF1. The answer is - I’m not edible. This opportunity just helped me to reach a larger audience and to move faster. As I knew exactly where I stood, I did not fear anything for my own credibility.”

The future proved her right. Her career and her music kept the same level of credibility after she had sold more than 420,000 copies of “Sambolera” worldwide; a huge success for her partners and a big acknowledgment from France and the rest of Europe.

Listen to Khadja Nin
Wale Watu

Text and More Information
Khadja Nin official website


Anonymous said...

Hello Liz,

Thank you for this posting. I never knew nothing about this musician. Where is she now? Some pundits (on You tube) say she spent sometime in Kigoma (Tanzania) and Belgium.

I would like to know more of her.




Habari Tanzania Boy

Khadja Nin is one of my favourite artists and I listen to her songs as often as I can. She has not been to New York to perform well at least for the time I have been here. Last I heard she resides in western Europe Monaco. has an African radio station I listen to religiously as it plays music by various artists like Youssou Ndour, Baaba Maal, Gigi, Wasis Diop,Tama,Ricardo Lemvo, Cesaria Evora, the list is endless. This musicians have maintained traditional rhythms in their music.


rodney misha segage said...

Khadja Nin is a true African who, like the late Lucky Dube never forgets where she comes from. though her music she takes with her, her fellow African and african pride whereever she will be peforming. through her music I can really relate to what president Thabo Mbeki means when he talks of An African Rennaissance.

Njenga said...

I discovered this African Queen a while back and I'm really loving her music.....the fusion is out of this world....her voice soulfully embodies the very heartbeat of Africa.
I hope she does a couple more albums. Her music is timeless...she is already a legend in my books....a true African Diva.
I also must admit she is really sexy for a 49 year old!