In 2010, Tunisian fruitseller Mohamed Bouazizi ignited first himself and then a whole region. The so-called Arab Spring, the fervent period of revolution that followed Bouazizi's martyrdom, had few lasting, concrete victories. Among them was the emergence of Emel, a Tunisian singer-songwriter whose 2007 song "Kelmti Horra (My Word Is Free)" became something of an anthem for the unrest of 2011.
Today, from her base in New York, Emel continues to emote world-weary sentiments over layered, transcendent instrumentation. "You thought you were needed on earth / That the world languishes for you / But you're just human, helpless human," she sings in Arabic, piercingly, on "Ensen Dhaif (Helpless Human)." Today, The FADER is premiering a fevered Cubenx remix of that track, taken from Emel's Ensenity remix album, out March 2 on Partisan Records.
"I deeply enjoyed working with such intense and well crafted sounds. It was hard to pick one sound as lead as they were all so psychedelic," says Cesar Urbina, the Mexican producer known as Cubenx, of reframing the track. "I love what Cubenx brings to this song, it's a completely different imagery that comes to my mind with new landscapes. It's sort of a wiser mutation," says Emel herself.
Listen to Cubenx's remix of "Ensen Dhaif" below.