From Barbès to Marseille, Tewfik Hakem captures the “Spirit of places” on France Culture

The Stade-Vélodrome de Marseille, in July 2021.


It’s in a small shop of the 18e district that nestles Chez Sauviat, the oldest record store in the Barbès district. To capture the uniqueness of this place, Tewfik Hakem held out the microphone to music producers and journalists: Michel Lévy, Kamel Hamadi, Zoulikha Guellil and Raoul Belaïche.

Read the report: Article reserved for our subscribers Barbès, the crossroads of all tricks

Studying the place occupied by cultural and unusual places, such is the purpose of “Spirit of places”, a weekly program produced by France Culture. In an immersive thirty-minute format, Tewfik Hakem offers living and embodied testimonies.

In Barbès, we rush into the intimacy of Chez Sauviat. Lined with CDs and posters of North African singers, the store, created in 1947, very early on specialized in oriental music. In 1958, the Constantine plan, an economic program that seeks to develop Algerian resources, was launched by Charles de Gaulle and Paul Delouvrier (in the midst of the Algerian war). Music is one of these resources.

The Parisian record companies, to capture subsidies, produce Algerian music. Léa Sauviat, a fine connoisseur of the genre, directs them towards the most prominent artists of the moment. informed music lover, “Madame Sauviat”as 86-year-old singer-songwriter Kamel Hamadi calls him, had a record store in 13e arrondissement of Paris before opening its store on boulevard de la Chapelle in 1947.


Another issue of “Esprit des lieux” plunges us into the excitement of the Stade-Vélodrome. Any Marseillais will tell you: much more than a sports arena, it’s a real piece of Marseille history. Several academics, attending a football match that looks like a Mediterranean derby (Marseille-Nice), paint a portrait of this effervescent place where the identity and collective memory of the Marseille city are built, two weekends a month , on the pitch and in the stands.

“The Stade-Vélodrome is a place of socialization, fusion and communion that celebrates the Marseille identity”emphasizes Christian Bromberger, professor of ethnology at the University of Provence Aix-Marseille. The architectural evolutions of the building, renovated over the course of the major French sports competitions, change the atmosphere of the arena: “Before we built a roof, the atmosphere was soaring to the sky. Now that there is one, the vibe resonates”analyzes journalist Mourad Aerts.

In “Esprit des lieux”, the atmosphere resonates every week in the ears of listeners. Here, the songs of supporters interrupt the words of a researcher, there, a raï producer is interrupted by an acquaintance who greets him in the middle of the street…

“Chez Sauviat, the last Barbès record store in Paris” and “Le Stade-Vélodrome de Marseille: a whole symbol, a whole story”, two issues of the weekly podcast “Spirit of places” broadcast on France Culture.

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