The Algerian making his own instruments

This former cabinet maker now handcrafts instruments

Location: Ighil Bouammas, Algeria

Yahia Challai took up the profession after he broke his beloved banjo


"It's a profession that I love. It was a challenge. I once broke my banjo and I swore to myself not to play music anymore, not to touch a guitar or a banjo or any other musical instrument until the day I fix my banjo myself, and this is what happened. It was a challenge."

Challai started playing the banjo as a form of physiotherapy

after losing his fingers in a workshop accident

He now makes bespoke, hybrid string instruments for international clients

It takes him one month to build an instrument


"New ideas, new instruments, mixed instruments, hybrid (instruments) with an Italian piece, a Jewish piece, a French piece, a Kabyle piece, an Algerian piece and an oriental (piece) - putting all these in one single instrument is a dream, it is a project that I have been cherishing for a long time. I might one day manage to do it, if my life is long. I hope so. Projects like this are close to my heart, ideas that are out of the ordinary."

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