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French-Algerian guitarist to perform in Rapid City

Pierre Bensusan

Pierre Bensusan's road has taken him from his home in French Algeria, to Paris, to Rapid City.

Bensusan was born in Oran during the Algerian War for Independence in the 1950s. That war ultimately drove his family to move to a Parisian suburb.

“One million Europeans and Jews left Algeria in 1962, and we moved to France. So, we are not exactly migrants, but we were like migrants in the way my parents had lost pretty much everything they owned there," Bensusan said. "They arrived in mainland France with nothing and had to rebuild their life.”

Despite his roots from Northern Africa, Bensusan said his sound as a guitarist goes beyond any one location or genre.

“The music I play is definitely influenced by a lot of different things," Bensusan said. "I don’t see music in styles. I see music. For me there is no genres of music. There is just music and music lovers, and I’ve never played any style or tried to reduce music to geography.”

Bensusan said he’s been influenced by what he heard growing up. Everything from Django Reinhardt to Beethoven has shaped his path of musical discovery.

“That creates a long-lasting impression, but I keep being exposed to all kinds of stuff today," Bensusan said. "I’m still trying to feed my expression and compliment my vocabulary.”

Bensusan performs at the Dahl Center on September 21st.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture