On March 4, 1913, Marguerite Taos Amrouche was born. She was an Algerian author and singer, one of the first Algerian women to publish a novel in French. She also collected and interpreted Kabylie Berber songs. She was born after her family had moved to Tunisia to escape persecution when they converted to Roman Catholicism, but she and her brother Jean returned to Algeria for extended visits, and she became interested in the rich oral traditions of the Kabyle Berber people. Amrouche’s first novel, Jacinthe noire (1947; “Black Hyacinth”), recounts the story of an “uncivilized” young Tunisian girl who is sent to a French pension for studies, reflecting her own days as a student in Tunisia and later in France. Taos Amrouche recorded several phonograph albums, and produced a number of programs for French radio and television, including Chants sauvés de l’oubli (“Songs Saved from Oblivion”) and Hommage au chant profond (“Homage to a Profound Song”).
To hear Marguerite Taos Amrouche singing, click: