The culture surrounding the tattooing tradition among the Chaouia extended beyond marking the body--and into songs. Songs and tattoos often went hand in hand. The famous “Ain El Karma” by Chaoui singer Aissa Djarmouni demonstrates how tattoos were at one time so much a part of Algerian popular culture that they inspired songwriters.
In this video, one elderly tattooed woman named Arjona sings her own rendition of "Ain El Karma," a song that dates to the early 1900s.
Yasmin Bendaas, a rising senior at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, is an anthropology major with minors in journalism and Middle East and South Asia studies.
As a student-journalist, she...