As a boy, Mehdi Ghazi had a dream. He wanted to be a classical pianist.
But he lived in Algeria, a northern African nation torn apart by a long-standing civil war between government forces and Islamic rebels. The war had shut down the music conservatory. And western classical music was nearly unheard of there—in fact, some called it “the devil’s music.”
Ghazi had no piano. He practiced on a keyboard drawn on a sheet of paper. And he had no teacher, so he taught himself to play.