Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cheikha Remitti: Les Racines Du Rai

Cheikha Remitti was one of the most famous singers of the Algerian folk music style known as raï.

She began performing in the raï style in the late-30s but her renown spread more rapidly after WWII when she began recording professionally and singing about a more hedonistic, sexually liberated lifestyle. This caused much controversy and led to her being criticized by both the country's Muslim leaders and the Algerian Nationalists fighting for independence against France. The former group denouncing her on moral grounds and the latter on nationalistic ones: they claimed her music expressed a distinctly French perspective.

Remitti remained popular with the Algerian people, despite being banned from the airwaves after the country gained independence. She performed frequently at private events in the country and for Algerian ex-pats in France, where she lived and ultimately died, of a heart attack at age 83, in May 2006.

A lot of this music is really ecstatic and exciting to listen to. Here are a couple of tracks I really enjoy:

Cheikha Remitti: Anta Rabhi Ou Ras Mali and Ouchta Dani Naachak
from Les Racines Du Rai (The Roots of Rai)

Download Les Racines Du Rai from eMusic.