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Mehdi Cayenne

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Mehdi Cayenne
Birth nameMehdi Hamdad
Also known asMehdi Cayenne
BornOctober 1st 1987
OriginAlgiers, Algeria
Occupation(s)Singer-Songwriter, Producer, Actor, Radio Creator, Writer, Poet, Facilitator
InstrumentsVoice, guitar, keyboards, programming
Years active2007-2018
Past membersOlivier Fairfield, François Gravel, Olivier Bernatchez, Pascal Delaquis, Maxime Drouin, Usman Ali Khan, Pierre-Luc Clément, Philippe Charbonneau, Jamie Kronick, Michelle Pinard, Charles Fairfield

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Mehdi Cayenne (birth name Mehdi Hamdad), born October 1, 1987 in Algiers, is a singer-songwriter, poet, writer, actor, and radio creator.

Known for his eclectic and prolific output, he mixes francophone and anglophone songwriter fare with funk, post-punk, folk, hip-hop and world music.

He has released 3 albums ("Luminata" in 2011, "NA NA BOO BOO" in 2013, "Aube" in 2015) and played in Quebec, Canada, the United States, France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Italy.

Early life[edit]

Born of French and Algerian parents, Mehdi Cayenne grew up in Montreal (Quebec), Moncton (New Brunswick), Ottawa (Ontario) and has lived briefly in New York City (USA)..[1]

His grandfather is the 14th generation of a lineage of Sufi imams, the mystical branch of Islam.[1]

He wrote his first poem at six years of age.[2]

After studying theater at Delasalle Public High School in Ottawa, he began performing in Ottawa and Montreal in 2005, playing in cafés, bars, retirement homes, prisons, schools, in the street, in poetry shows, and in theaters.[3]


With Tricia Foster, Cindy Doire and Olivier Fairfield among others, he participated in the 2007-2009 project Les héritiers de Champlain, a musical revue that traveled across Ontario for more than 75 dates.[4]

He formed the Mehdi Cayenne Club (shortened in 2016 to Mehdi Cayenne) on June 25, 2009, the day of Michael Jackson's passing.[5]

Over the years, the group has been working with several members of the Outaouais and Montreal music scene: Olivier Fairfield, François Gravel, Oli Bernatchez, Pascal Delaquis, Maxime Drouin, Usman Ali Khan, Pierre-Luc Clement, Philippe Charbonneau, Jamie Kronick, Michelle Pinard ...

In 2011 he released his first album "Luminata", then "Na Na Boo Boo" in 2013 and "Aube" in 2015.

Between 2009 and 2016, he won several awards, and played shows across Canada and Europe with such diverse artists as Michel Fugain, Feu ! Chatterton, Claudio Capeo, A Tribe Called Red, Louis-Jean Cormier, Saul Williams, Socalled, Alaclair Ensemble, Alex Nevsky, Klô Pelgag, Yann Perreau, Damien Robitaille, Dumas, Random Recipe, Wake Island, Louis-Philippe Robillard, Safia Nolin, Radio Radio, Geoff Berner, Michel Rivard, Caltâr Bateau, Le Havre, Philippe Brach, Laura Cahen, Jeremy Fisher, Caroline Savoie, Zébulon, Pandaléon, Samuele, Les Fatals Picards, FET NAT, Laurence Nerbonne, Émile Bilodeau, Tire le coyote, Hilotrons, U.S Girls), and played on many great stages in Canada and abroad.


He began performing at poetry slams in 2005, participating in the 2007 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word under the pseudonym of (1).

Between 2005 and 2017, he performed in French and English:

  • 2007 Canadian Spoken Word Festival, Halifax
  • 2010 special poem for Réseau Ontario, Ottawa
  • 2009 Sacrificial poet at the CBC Poetry Face-off, Calgary
  • 2009 special poem for the Bank of Canada, Ottawa
  • 2008 Toronto International Poetry Slam (TIPS), Toronto
  • 2008 Grand Slam Québecois, Montreal
  • 2008 special poems for the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
  • 2007 Presentation at the Governor General's Literary Awards Ceremony, Ottawa
  • 2014 special poem for the Phénomèna lab, Montreal
  • 2013 "Corneilles Noires d'Oreilles" special show with JFNO at Phénomèna Festival, Montreal
  • 2013 guest poet at the Slam Sessions series, Montreal
  • 2013: guest poet at slam France / Quebec, Divan Orange, Montreal
  • 2011 special poem for the National Gallery of Canada's Caravaggio exhibit, Ottawa
  • 2011 VerseFest Ottawa
  • 2011 Grand Chlem of Poetry, Sherbrooke
  • 2010 curation / performance of the French showcase of the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word
  • 2016 Museum of Civilization, Quebec
  • 2016 performance at Canada Reads, CBC Ottawa
  • 2016 "Plus on est de fous plus on lit", Radio-Canada Montreal
  • 2015 VerseFest Ottawa
  • 2015 guest poet at the Figure de Style series in Montreal
  • 2014 "Cathédrale sauvage" special show at Maison des Arts de la parole, Sherbrooke


In 2007, Mr. Cayenne wrote, performed and directed "The Pupils Of Amnesia", a 20 minute monologue presented at the Cube gallery for the Little Voice series.[6]

In 2009, he was part of the Théâtre de la Vieille 17's Terre d'accueil, which took him on a pan-Canadian tour in 2009 with the Rendez-Vous de la Francophonie.[7]

In 2010, Mehdi wrote, performed and directed "Animal Chic", a 60-minute monologue at the Théâtre de l'Île in Gatineau, QC.[8]

Also in 2010, he starred in Afghanistan (Théâtre La Catapulte), performing more than 60 times across Canada.[9]

In 2013, he wrote, performed and staged the monologue "Je te vois", presented at the Center of Artistic Excellence at Delasalle Public High School in Ottawa.

In 2018, he performed under the direction of Loui Mauffette in the play "Chansons pour filles et filles perdus" at the Théâtre d'aujourd'hui in Montreal.


In 2009, he wrote and narrated the series "En quoi tu crois" at Radio-Canada.[10]

We also saw him in “Tournée des cafés en Ontario” (2011), “Présences” (2013), “Balade à Toronto” (2014), “Galala” (2015),[11] and “Prise de son” (2017)[12]

School work[edit]

Since 2007, Mehdi Cayenne has led hundreds of songwriting and poetry workshops across Canada for students aged 4-17.[13]


Mehdi Cayenne has presented multiple radio chronicles on Radio-Canada for several shows, including Nouvelle Vague [14], On dira ce qu’on voudra[15], and l’Effet Pogonat[16].

In 2017, Mehdi narrated an excerpt from "L'hiver de force" (Réjean Ducharme), for Magnéto[17].

In 2018, Mehdi co-directed with Marie-Laurence Rancourt the radio documentary "L'écorce et le noyau", produced by Magnéto[18]

Also in 2018, Mehdi wrote the music for the radio documentary "La troisième personne" with Magnéto.[19]

Every Friday from June 2018 to June 2019, Mehdi offers poetic chronicles with Radio-Canada (titled "Brin de folie") in multiple French-speaking regions of Canada.[20]


1. Luminata (released January 18th 2011)[edit]

1. O Canada 03:10

2. My home 03:01

3. Envol 03:40

4. Source 04:24

5. Les zamers zindiens (Z1) 03:46

6. Je sais pas travailler 02:49

7. Travailler (interlude) 00:48

8. Un Canadien errant 03:37

9. Alaap (ma ville) 03:49

10. Disgrace (feat. Cindy Doire + Tricia Foster) 03:43

11. Revelation 03:57

12. Amazing Grace 03:20

13. Le mur de la peur 03:14

Personnel :

Pierre-Luc Clément: electric guitar, back vocals

Philippe Charbonneau: double bass, back vocals

Olivier Fairfield: drums, vibraphone, keyboards, guitars, back vocals

Mehdi Cayenne: voices, guitars, keyboards, back vocals

Usman Ali Khan: bass, tambourine, back vocals

Michelle Pinard: violin, backing vocals

+ extra back vocals from Cindy Doire and Tricia Foster on Disgrace,

and Guillaume Fairfield in Un canadien errant.

Producer: Olivier Fairfield

Arranged by Olivier Fairfield, Mehdi Cayenne and Charles Fairfield.

Strings composed and arranged by Charles Fairfield.

Recorded by Charles Fairfield at NCode Studios.

Additional recordings: Guillaume Fairfield and Olivier Fairfield at Fairfield Industries.

Mastering: Harris Newman at Grey Market Mastering.

Design: Collectif Design Inc.

2. NA NA BOO BOO (released May 29th 2013)[edit]

1. Morphée 01:27

2. Le noeud 02:14

3. L'art pour l'art 02:18

4. Fug Dat 02:01

5. The Boat 03:10

6. Sortie de secours 03:06

7. Happiness Machine 02:55

8. Délire 03:01

9. Téléphone jaune 02:23

10. Lundi matin le déluge 03:30

11. Chacun son arc-en-ciel 02:44

12. NA NA BOO BOO 03:00


Olivier Fairfield: Drums, guitars

Mehdi Cayenne: vocals, guitars

François Gravel: keyboards, back vocals

Arranged by Olivier Fairfield, Francois Gravel, Mehdi Cayenne and Charles Fairfield.

Produced by Olivier Fairfield.

Recorded by Charles Fairfield at NCode Studios.

Design by Mehdi Cayenne

3. Aube (released November 4th 2015)[edit]

  1. Rivière 02:13
  2. Je te vois 03:13
  3. Ta solitude 02:16
  4. Minuit arrive 02:43
  5. La pluie 02:20
  6. Pigeon-voyageur 04:39
  7. Crève-coeur 03:37
  8. Les heures impossibles 02:32
  9. Ton corps 03:16
  10. Je te veux 02:55
  11. Fais de ton mieux 02:00
  12. Quel jeu 04:16


Producers: Charles Fairfield, Mehdi Cayenne, Olivier Fairfield

Arranged by Charles Fairfield, Olivier Fairfield, François Gravel, Olivier Bernatchez, Mehdi Cayenne

String arrangements: Charles Fairfield

Recorded at the Ncode studio

Sound engineer and mixer: Charles Fairfield

Mastering: Harris Newman

Photo and graphic design: Geneviève L Richard


  • “Isadora” w/ Le Havre - 2015
  • “Ouragan” w/ Le Havre - 2016


  • Aurore Boréale Volume 1 - 2014
  • Passovah Summer Festival Compilation - 2014
  • Compilation Accès Culture - 2014
  • Fringe Pop - 2014
  • POP Montreal Mixtape #11 - 2014
  • La Liste Poulet Neige - 2015
  • MEGAPHONO Volume 8 - 2016
  • Compilation Trille Or - 2017
  • LOVE LOCAL OMIC compilation - 2018



  • 2018 Numix prizes nomination (L'écorce et le noyau)
  • 2017 Granby-Europe tour - FICG
  • 2017 Portée Radio-Canada Prize
  • 2017 Best song Socan prize - Trille Or Gala
  • 2017 Best male artist - Trille Or Gala
  • 2017 Best album - Trille Or Gala
  • 2016 Best stage presence prize - FICG
  • 2016 Édith-Butler Prize— SPACQ
  • 2016 Artist-educator by excellence Prize by the Ontario Arts Foundation (nominated)
  • 2016 Franco-fête Prize - Contact Ontarois
  • 2014 Media Heartthrob Prize - Trille Or Gala
  • 2014 Songwriter by excellence - Trille Or Gala
  • 2014 Sirius XM Grand Prize (10 000$) - Festival en chanson de Petite-Vallée
  • 2014 Francouvertes Prize - Festival en chanson de Petite-Vallée
  • 2014 Télé-Québec Prize — Festival en chanson de Petite-Vallée
  • 2014 Desjardins Audacity Prize - Festival en chanson de Petite-Vallée
  • 2013 Festival international de la chanson de Granby Prize - Contact ontarois
  • 2011 Best Music Video Prize - Trille Or Gala
  • 2011 Prix Rideau Awards - Best Emerging Artist (winner)
  • 2011 Prix Rideau Awards - Best Male Interpretation (nominated)

External links[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Magazine Socan | Features | Mehdi Cayenne, petites symphonies de la douceur".
  2. "Huffington Post (Maghreb)".
  3. "Le Devoir | Mehdi Cayenne, entre le mystique et le quotidien".
  4. "VOIR Ottawa/Gatineau".
  5. "Ottawa Showbox".
  6. "Ottawa Citizen".
  7. "Site officiel de la compagnie La Vieille 17".
  8. "Impératif Français".
  9. "Wikipedia - Théâtre La Catapulte".
  10. "Épisode "En quoi tu crois"".
  11. "Imdb".
  12. "Radio-Canada".
  13. "Le Droit".
  14. "Radio-Canada".
  15. "Radio-Canada".
  16. "Radio-Canada".
  17. "Soundcloud".
  18. "Le Devoir".
  19. "Magnéto - Site Officiel".
  20. "Radio Canada".

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