EP.12–Culture: Precursors of Rai Music

August 31st, 2012

This is the first episode in a multiple-episode series on a musical style from North Africa that came to be a strong player on the World Music scene in the last two decades. It is called Rai. This series will consider the development of Rai music within the complex Algerian cultural and socio-political settings of the twentieth century. Throughout the series, we will listen to short musical excerpts from the repertoire of the major Rai performers. Today, we highlight the birthplace and possible origins of Rai and take a look at some precursors of this genre, including the Bedouin Malhun, the Sheikhat, the Meddahat, and al-Wahrani style. This episode includes excerpts from songs by Cheikh Hamada, Ahmed Wahby, Blaoui Houari, Cheb Khaled, and Chebba Zahouania.

Sources and further reading:

Daoudi, B. & Miliani H. L'aventure du Raï

Drewett, M & Cloonan, M. Popular Music Censorship in Africa

Plastino, G. Mediterranean Mosaic: Popular Music and Global Sounds

Schade-Poulsen, M. Men and Popular Music in Algeria: The Social Significance of Raï

Virolle, M. La chanson Raï : De l'Algérie profonde à la scène internationale

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