Oui, c'est du Raï!!
February 5, 2007 10:18 PM   Subscribe

Raï is North African music. Cheb Khaled goes from pop to more traditional. Cheb Mami does sexy and more sexy and Sting! Recently, young and handsome Faudel tops the charts in France and son pays. And all together with Abdel Khader!!
posted by pwedza (17 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
We never seem to get this image of the Arab world in the U.S. I doubt O'Reilly would know what to say.
posted by pwedza at 10:51 PM on February 5, 2007

Rock el Casbah (mp3, YouTube).

I have nothing more to add.
posted by the cydonian at 11:18 PM on February 5, 2007

Additionally, not quite Raï, but Tinariwen's sound (downloads, official site, part of an blog entry by moi) is also rather compelling. Rock from Timbuktu needs to be listened to, and not just for the sheer coolness that rock from Timbuktu would entail.
posted by the cydonian at 11:28 PM on February 5, 2007

Awesome post! I lived for a number of years in North Africa and France and grew to love raï. I used to have hundreds of raï songs, bought on those CDs for sale in the hole-in-the-wall shops on every street corner.

I also fell in love the takasim (oud) music, especially by Bechar artist Professor Alla.

(Just a note that it's Rachid Taha in that last video with Khaled and Faudel, not Cheb Mami.)

Some of my favorite raï - and related music - worth checking out if you're interested...

Au Pays de Merveilles by Cheb Mami
Dawi Hali (Etoile Filante) by Djamal Laroussi
Zaama Zaama by Takfarinas
Awama by Cheb Kader
Avavainova by Idir
Weli Liya by Azedine
Rani Mdamer by Houari Benchanet
Bledi by Jaafar
Moule el Bar by Zahouani
Nselfik by Sahroui and Fadela
Baida by Faudel
Asmar Ashkar by Cheb Hasni
posted by darkstar at 11:44 PM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

Cheb Mami is hot, except for the Michael Jackson-style nosejob.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:27 AM on February 6, 2007

Can't go wrong with a bit of Rai! Anything with a darbuka in it is already on the road to being kicking. What amazes me is that the Greeks don't have any interesting drumming (that I have heard) considering that they are very much in darbuka territory.

Here is a young lady giving it the hippy shake to a bit of Hossam Ramzy.

Thanks for the post pwedza and that list darkstar, will check.
posted by asok at 1:54 AM on February 6, 2007

May I bring your attention to 1, 2, 3, Soleils, a live album recorded in 1998 at Bercy, the largest venue in France, featuring Taha, Faudel, Khaled and Bowie's then live musicians. Khaled wasn't at his best that night unfortunately but there are still a few tracks worth listening to!
posted by surrendering monkey at 2:01 AM on February 6, 2007

One of my introductions to modern Rai was through Rimitti, a tough woman with a powerful voice that let you know she could beat up pretty boy pop stars without breaking a sweat. In her seventies she recorded the album that brought her to the West -- Sidi Mansour, a fusion of Rai, funk and prog rock. Her earthiness cuts through the dense electronic production with ease, and one memorable passage has her shouting over a wall of Frippertronics.

The only relevant videos I could find: Random shots of Cairo with her on the soundtrack, a short TV clip of her shaking her groove thing, and a concert from 1994, the same year Sidi Mansour was released. The music and the footage don't match, but the audio quality in the last one is good.
posted by ardgedee at 4:18 AM on February 6, 2007

I had the good fortune to be taken to a Cheb Khaled gig in London by a friend who worked with an Algerian refugee support group and a bunch of her clients. Storming night.
Thanks for all these links.
posted by Abiezer at 4:32 AM on February 6, 2007

Amazing post. I've heard a little bit of Khaled (and fell completely in love with it), knew that it was called rai but that's about it. Thanks!
posted by xthlc at 5:11 AM on February 6, 2007

I love Cheb Mami! I'm so glad that others do too.
posted by kindle at 6:46 AM on February 6, 2007

Great link, thanks. But not everyone agrees with you.
posted by John of Michigan at 7:19 AM on February 6, 2007

Excellent post pwedza, thanks. Love that DailyMotion link, lots of good stuff there! :)

Ooh, the video of Khaled, Faudel and Kader is hot. Cheb Khaled's voice reminds me a bit of my favorite Italian blues-jazz pop singer, Pino Daniele.

I've loved Cheb Mami for years now and Israeli-Yemenite, Ofra Haza, who died young and whose music has that Raï sound.

A couple of months ago I wandered into this small store in Brooklyn, Rashid Music, which bills itself "America's largest and oldest distributor of Arabic music. Est. 1934". It has a comprehensive selection of Arabic music with audio clips on its website.

As for classic North African pop, there is always the oldie but gold Umm Kalthoum.

One of my fave CDs is Nubian-Sudanese fusion pop,Abdel Gadir Salim, The Merdoum Kings Play Songs of Love.
posted by nickyskye at 8:30 AM on February 6, 2007

Rachid Taha is great, although he doesn't consider his music rai. I've been listening to his CDs in my car for a few weeks.

Don't forget Khaled wrote Aicha and his original version is a lot better than the more well known version by Outlandish.
posted by mike3k at 10:01 AM on February 6, 2007

This seems a good opportunity to mention another of my favorite North African artists, Fawzi Chekili. His Tunisian jazz is superb.

Gives great show and I can't recommend his CD "Bedouine" highly enough. Every track on that CD is behi yessir.
posted by darkstar at 10:29 AM on February 6, 2007

Groovin'. Thanks.
posted by Wolof at 4:53 PM on February 6, 2007

@the cydonian

as much as Rachid Taha ROX, his "Rock The Casbah" has nothing to do with Raï

you should try Cheb Hosni
posted by zouhair at 8:11 PM on February 6, 2007

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