, known by his stage name Enrico Macias
, (born 11 December 1938 in Constantine
, then in French Algeria
) is an Algerian French Pied noir
singer and musician. He is popular throughout the world and has travelled extensively for fifty years, from the early 1960s to the present.
He was born to a Jewish family in Constantine, Algeria, and played the guitar from childhood. His father, Sylvain Ghrenassia, was a violinist in an orchestra that played primarily maalouf
, Andalo-Arabic music
. Gaston started playing with the Cheikh Raymond Leyris
Orchestra at 15.
He pursued a career as a school teacher, but continued practicing the guitar. In 1961, the Algerian War of Independence
was raging, and the situation became untenable for the Jewish and European residents of Constantine. Of immense effect on Gaston Ghrenassia was the assassination in 1961 of his father-in-law and musician Cheikh Raymond Leyris
by the National Liberation Front
. Gaston left Algeria with his wife, Suzy, on 29 July 1961, eleven months before the end of the Algerian War of Independence
, and went into exile in mainland France. He has not been permitted to return to Algeria ever since.
First living in Argenteuil
, he eventually moved to Paris, where he decided to pursue a career in music. At first he tried translating into French the maalouf
numbers which he already knew. Later on, he developed a new French repertoire that he performed in cafés and... Read More