As I Open My Eyes/A Peine J'ouvre Les Yeux (Original Soundtrack)


Nawa Recordings presents the worldwide release of Khyam Allami's original soundtrack to Leyla Bouzid's 2015 award-winning debut feature-length film À peine j'ouvre les yeux (As I Open My Eyes). With As I Open My Eyes, Bouzid (a winner of 16 international film awards at the time of this release) tells the story of 18-year-old Farah (played by Baya Medhaffar), who sings in an alternative rock band called Joujma, and her coming of age in pre-revolutionary Tunisia against the will of her mother Hayet (played by Tunisian songstress Ghalia Benali). The 14-track soundtrack of the film features original music composed, arranged, and produced by Khyam Allami for the fictional band created for the film, Joujma, alongside oud-based incidental music and Maurice Louca's "Benhayyi Al-Baghbaghan" ("Salute the Parrot"), the title-track from his 2014 album (NAWA 002CD/LP). Working closely from the early stages of casting and pre-production through to the final sound mixing of the film, Allami and Bouzid aimed to develop a new and youthful sound for the band, informed by Tunisian folk music such as the vocal-driven songs from the city of El Kef, and inspired by artists such as Patti Smith, PJ Harvey, and the female leads in bands such as Sonic Youth and Stereolab. The five-piece band of non-professional actors and musicians features Baya Medhaffar as Farah (vocals), Montasser Ayari as Borhene (oud), Deena Abdelwahed as Ines (keys and electronics), and the brothers Marwen Soltana as Sami (bass) and Youssef Soltana as Ska (drums). Teaching the band the songs by rote, Allami tried to keep a balance between their musicality and a natural yet amateur edge to their performance. The lyrics for the band's songs were written by Tunisian writer Ghassan Amami in colloquial Tunisian Arabic, based on the film's narrative and dramatic context. Allami used the lyrics as a catalyst for his composition, to heighten their latent symbolism alongside their social, cultural, and political referencing, while serving the dynamic trajectory of the film's plot. The songs in the film are performed live by the band, all of whom make their acting debuts. They were then recorded in a music studio in Tunisia to form the first part of this soundtrack album. Features artwork by Lebanese designer Jana Traboulsi and tri-lingual booklets with lyrics in Arabic, English, and French.