Zebda are a French band from Toulouse, who are famous for writing very political songs. Zebda formed in 1985 after Magyd Cherfi, who was at that point a community organiser, set up a small group of musicians to make a video for the community organisation, that he was working for. Some of the members joined the group at a later stage because they met each other by getting involved in community projects, that were aimed at encouraging the young people of Toulouse to become involved in arts and music. So it was not until 1988 that the group started to perform on a regular basis. They became famous in 1990, when they performed at the Printemps de Bourges music festival. The band's name comes from the Arabic word, "zibdah", which means "butter", as the french slang word "beur" (which comes from the french word for butter, "beurre") is a word, which refers to citizens of Arab origin. Generally their songs focus on the ways in which immigrants, ethnic minorities and young people from the banlieues (suburbs) of France are treated. One of their most famous songs is the song, "Le bruit et l'odeur", that was based on a comment that Jack Chiraq made during his time as president of France, in which he said that Arabic immigrants only create noise and smells and never get a job.
Le bruit et l'odeur ("noise and smell"):
Tomber le chemise ("take my/your shirt off"), this song criticises the social differences in France. It's based on the Midi accent:
Motivés, this was a song that they wrote in support of Les Motivé-e-s, a political party that was trying to encourage local government to represent all demographic groups of the city. The party was also focused on encouraging young people and immigrants to vote and do more to help with the political issues, where they live:
crois que ça va pas être possible ("I believe that that won't be possible"). Judging from the lyrics, I think
that this song is about the fact that employers are more reluctant to
employ ethnic minorities than nationals/Europeans:
J'y suis, j'y reste ("I there [and] I stay there"), this song is about how immigrants can settle in France or indeed any other country but never really integrate and therefore stay in the same parts of the country, with their counterparts, who have the same story to tell: