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Encyclopedia > Raï
Raï
Stylistic origins: Spanish and Arab music, including al-andalous, zendani and melhun
Cultural origins: Late 19th century Oran, Algeria
Typical instruments:
Mainstream popularity: Much in Algeria, sporadic elsewhere, especially France and India
Derivative forms:
Subgenres
Bedoui citadinisé - Lover's raï - Pop raï
Fusion genres
Wahrani
Regional scenes
Other topics

Raï (Arabic: راي) is a form of folk music, originated in Oran, Algeria from Bedouin shepherds, mixed with Spanish, French, African-American and Arabic musical forms, which dates back to the 1930s and has been evolved by women mainly. The word "Raï" is Arabic for "opinion". Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the city in Algeria. ... A musical instrument is a device that has been constructed or modified with the purpose of making music. ... Arabic is a Semitic language, closely related to Hebrew and Aramaic. ... Folk music, in the original sense of the term, is music by and of the people. ... This article is about the city in Algeria. ... Bedouin resting at Mount Sinai Bedouin, derived from the Arabic badawi بدوي, a generic name for a desert-dweller, is a term generally applied to Sahara via the Western Desert, Sinai, and Negev to the eastern coast of the Arabian desert. ... In a draw in a mountainous region, a shepherd guides a flock of about 20 sheep amidst scrub and olive trees. ... For many people, Spanish music is virtually synonymous with flamenco, an Andalucian-Gitano form of music. ... France has long been considered a center for European art and music. ... African American music (also called black music, formerly known as race music) is an umbrella term given to a range of musical genres emerging from or influenced by the culture of United States. ... Arab music is the music of Arabic_speaking people or countries, especially those centered around the Arabian Peninsula. ...


Singers of rai are called cheb (young) as opposed to cheikh (old) the name given to Chaabi music singers; the tradition arose in cities like Oran and elsewhere in Tlemcen, primarily among the poor. The word rai means literally opinion but is colloquially used as an expletive along the lines of oh, yeah!. Traditionally sung by men, at the turn of the 20th century, female singers became common. Oran is a seaport in Western Algeria, known since the Spanish invasion centuries ago; Spanish troops kept women there to entertain the troops, and the city has kept a reputation for hedonism ever since. In the early 20th century, Oran was divided into Jewish, French, Spanish and Arab quarters. By independence in 1962, the Jewish quarter (known as the Derb), was home to popular musicians like Reinette L'Oranaise, Saoud L'Oranais and Larbi Bensari. Sidi el Houari was home to Spanish fishermen, many refugees from Spain who arrived after 1939. These two quarters were the centers for musical innovation, and the French inhabitants of the city went to the Jewish and Spanish areas for music. The Arabs of Oran were known for al-andalous, a classical style of music imported from Southern Spain after 1492. Hawzi was popular between the wars, and the biggest stars were female singers like Cheikha Tetma, Fadila D'zirya and Myriam Fekkai. Melhun poetry with accompaniment was also popular, sung by male singers in long, white jellabas and turbans (known as cheikhs) who played guellal drums and gaspa flutes. This genre was known as bedoui (from its origin among Bedouin chants) or gharbi. Lyrics came from the poetry of masters like Mestfa ben Brahim and Zenagui Bouhafs, and performers included Cheikh Hamada, Cheikh Mohammed Senoussi, Cheikh Madani, Cheikh Hachemi Bensmir and Cheikh Khaldi. Senoussi was the first to record, in 1906. This article is about the city in Algeria. ... Tlemcen is a town in Northwestern Algeria, and the seat of government for the wilaya of the same name. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999 in the... The Kingdom of Spain or Spain (Spanish and Galician: Reino de España or España; Catalan: Regne dEspanya; Basque: Espainiako Erresuma) is a country located in the southwest of Europe. ... 1962 was a common year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... The Kingdom of Spain or Spain (Spanish and Galician: Reino de España or España; Catalan: Regne dEspanya; Basque: Espainiako Erresuma) is a country located in the southwest of Europe. ... Fishing from a Pier Fishing is both the recreation and sport of catching fish (for food or as a trophy), and the commercial fishing industry of catching or harvesting seafood (either fish or other aquatic life-forms, such as shellfish). ... Power lines leading to a trash dump hover just overhead in El Carpio, a Nicaraguan refugee camp in Costa Rica Under international law, a refugee is a person who is outside his/her country of nationality or habitual residence; has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her... 1939 was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Events January 2 - Boabdil, the last Moorish King of Granada, surrenders his city to the army of Ferdinand and Isabella after a lengthy siege. ... The Turban (Arabic عمامة; ‘imamah, Persian dulband) is a headdress, of obscure Oriental origin, consisting of a long scarf wound round the head or an inner hat. ... For other kinds of drums, see drum (disambiguation). ... This article pertains to the musical instrument. ... Bedouin resting at Mount Sinai Bedouin, derived from the Arabic badawi بدوي, a generic name for a desert-dweller, is a term generally applied to Sahara via the Western Desert, Sinai, and Negev to the eastern coast of the Arabian desert. ... A chant is the rhythmic speaking or singing of words or sounds, either on a single pitch or with a simple notes and often including a great deal of repetition or statis. ... 1906 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ...


French colonization of Algeria changed the organization of society, producing an urban poor of uneducated men and women. Popular bedoui singers mostly collaborated with the French colonizers, though some, like Cheikh Hamada were exceptions. The problems of survival in a life of poverty were the domain of street musicians who sang bar-songs called zendanis. Many of these songs included exclamations of rai! and variations on it, which implies an opinion is being expressed. Colonization (or colonisation) is the act where life forms move into a distant area where their kind is sparse or not yet existing at all and set up new settlements in the area. ... Poverty is the state of being without, often associated with need, hardship and lack of resources across a wide range of cirstance. ...


In the 1920s, the women of Oran were held to strict code of conduct. Many of those that failed became social outcasts and singers and dancers. They sang medh songs in praise of Muhammad and performed for female audiences at weddings, circumcision feasts and other ceremonies. These performers included Les Trois Filles de Baghdad, Soubira bent Menad and Kheira Essebsadija. Another group of female social outcasts were called cheikhas, who were known for their alluring dress, hedonistic lyrics, and a form of music that combined that of the cheikhs, meddhahates and zendani singers. These cheikhas sang for both men and women, and included Cheikha Remitti el Reliziana, perhaps the most famous cheikha. Other performers included Cheikha Grélo, Cheikha Djenia el Mostganmia, Cheikha Bachitta de Mascara and Cheikha a; Ouachma el Tmouchentia. The 1930s saw the rise of revolutionary organizations, many with a Marxist goal, which mostly despised these early roots rai singers. At the same time, the great voices of Arab classical music were gaining popularity across North Africa, especially Umm Kulthum. Centuries: 19th century - 20th century - 21st century Decades: 1870s 1880s 1890s 1900s 1910s - 1920s - 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s Years: 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 Referred to as the Roaring 20s. ... Muhammad is a common male name for Muslims. ... This article is about the marriage ceremony. ... Circumcision is the removal of some or all of the prepuce ( foreskin). ... Events and trends Technology Jet engine invented Science Nuclear fission discovered by Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner and Fritz Strassmann Pluto, the ninth planet from the Sun, is discovered by Clyde Tombaugh British biologist Arthur Tansley coins term ecosystem War, peace and politics Socialists proclaim The death of Capitalism Rise to... Marxism is the political practice and social theory based on the works of Karl Marx, a 19th century philosopher, economist, journalist, and revolutionary, along with Friedrich Engels. ... Arab music is the music of Arabic-speaking people or countries, especially those centered around the Arabian Peninsula, though Peter van der Merwe (1989, p. ... North Africa is a region generally considered to include: Algeria Egypt Libya Mauritania Morocco Sudan Tunisia Western Sahara The Canary Islands, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Madeira are sometimes considered to be a part of North Africa. ... Umm Kulthum (أم كلثوم, Oum Kalsoum) (c. ...


Rai, al-andalous and the Egyptian classical superstars' style was combined in the 30s to form wahrani, a style popularized by Blaoui Houari. Wahrani was very popular, as were American jazz and French cabaret singers like Edith Piaf, especially into the 1940s. Musicians like Mohammed Belarbi and Djelloul Bendaoud added these influences to other Oranian styles, as well as Western piano and accordion, resulting in a new style called bedoui citadinisé. Full-scale revolution began in the mid-1950s, and many of these stars, including Houari and Ahmed Saber, supported the Front de Libération National. After independence in 1962, however, the new Marxist government of the Boumédiènne regime, and President Ahmed Ben Bella, did not tolerate criticism from Saber and other musicians, and many were arrested. Rai and Oranian culture was suppressed. The United States of America — also referred to as the United States, the U.S.A., the U.S., America, the States, or (archaically) Columbia—is a federal republic of 50 states located primarily in central North America (with the exception of two states: Alaska and Hawaii). ... Jazz is a musical art form characterized by blue notes, syncopation, swing, call and response, polyrhythms, and improvisation. ... The French Republic or France (French: République française or France) is a country whose metropolitan territory is located in western Europe, and which is further made up of a collection of overseas islands and territories located in other continents. ... Cabaret is a form of entertainment featuring comedy, song, dance, and theatre, distinguished mainly by the performance venue - a restaurant or nightclub with a stage for performances and the audience sitting around the tables (often dining or drinking) watching the performance. ... Edith Piaf Édith Piaf (December 19, 1915 - October 11, 1963) was one of Frances most beloved singers, with much success shortly before and during World War II. Her music reflected her tragic life, with her specialty being the poignant ballad presented with a heartbreaking voice. ... Centuries: 19th century - 20th century - 21st century Decades: 1890s 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s - 1940s - 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s Years: 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 Events and trends Technology First nuclear bomb First cruise missile, the V1 flying bomb and the first ballistic missile, the... The piano Piano is a common abbreviation for pianoforte, a large musical instrument with a keyboard (see keyboard instrument). ... a piano accordion An accordion is a small portable free-reed wind instrument with a keyboard, the smallest representative of the organ family. ... Events and trends Technology United States tests the first fusion bomb. ... 1962 was a common year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... Mohamed Ahmed Ben Bella (Muhammad Ahmad Bin Balla) (born December 25, 1916, Maghnia, Algeria) was the first President of Algeria, and seen by many as the Father of the Nation. ...


In the 1960s, American rock and roll and soul music was popular, and Algerian bands like The Vulures and The Students arose. The French Yé Yé craze was also popular, and two of the most influential musicians of the later 20th century began their career. Bellamou Messaoud and Belkacem Bouteldja modernized the rai sound and began gaining mainstream acceptance by 1964. Chaba Fadela and Cheb Khaled also began their careers during this period, as rai's popularity was growing across Algeria. Recording technology began growing more advanced, and more imported genres gained popularity as well, into the 1970s, especially Jamaican reggae performers like Bob Marley. Fadela's 1979 "Ana ma h'lali ennoum" is considered the beginning of modern pop rai; the song was a hit across Algeria, and set the stage for rai's domination of national listeners. International success had begun as early as 1976 with the success of Ahmad Baba Rachid. Centuries: 19th century - 20th century - 21st century Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s - 1960s - 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s Years: 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 Events and trends The 1960s was a turbulent decade of change around the world. ... Rock and roll (also spelled Rock n Roll, especially in its first decade), also called rock, is a form of popular music, usually featuring vocals (often with vocal harmony), electric guitars and a strong back beat; other instruments, such as the saxophone, are common in some styles. ... For other uses, see Soul music (disambiguation). ... Bellemou Messaoud is an Algerian musician, and perhaps the most influential performer of modern raï music. ... 1964 was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Events and trends Although in the United States and in many other Western societies the 1970s are often seen as a period of transition between the turbulent 1960s and the more conservative 1980s and 1990s, many of the trends that are associated widely with the Sixties, from the Sexual Revolution... Jamaica is a country in the Caribbean Sea, located south of Cuba and to the west of Hispaniola, on which Haiti and the Dominican Republic are situated. ... Reggae is an African Caribbean style of music developed on the island of Jamaica and is closely linked to the religion Rastafarianism, though not universally popular among its members. ... Bob Marley Robert Nesta Marley ( February 6, 1945 - May 11, 1981), better known as Bob Marley, was a singer, guitarist, and songwriter from Saint Ann, Jamaica. ... 1979 is a common year starting on Monday. ... 1976 is a leap year starting on Thursday (link will take you to calendar). ...


In the 1980s, rai began its period of greatest popularity. In 1986, the first state-sanctioned rai festival was held in Algeria, and a festival was also held in Bobigny, France. Cheb Khaled was the first international superstar, though his popularity did not extend to the United States, Latin America and certain other areas. His 1988 Kutché album did the most to popularize him and the whole genre of rai. Other prominent performers of the 80s included Houari Benchenet, Raina Rai, Mohamed Sahraoui, Cheb Mami and Cheb Hamid. Events and trends The 1980s marked an abrupt shift towards more conservative lifestyles after the momentous cultural revolutions which took place in the 1960s and 1970s and the definition of the AIDS virus in 1981. ... 1986 is a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Bobigny is a town and commune of France, in the suburbs is of Paris, chief town of the arrondissement of the Seine-Saint-Denis. ... The United States of America — also referred to as the United States, the U.S.A., the U.S., America, the States, or (archaically) Columbia—is a federal republic of 50 states located primarily in central North America (with the exception of two states: Alaska and Hawaii). ... Latin America consists of the countries of South America and some of North America (including Central America and some the islands of the Caribbean) whose inhabitants mostly speak Romance languages, although Native American languages are also spoken. ... 1988 is a leap year starting on a Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Cheb Mami is an Algerian-born raï singer. ...


International success grew in the 1990s, when Cheb Khaled's 1992 Khaled was a major French hit and also saw success in India and elsewhere. With Khaled no longer in Algeria, new stars began singing lover's rai, a sentimental, pop-ballad form best-known for stars like Cheb Tahar, Cheb Nasro and, especially, Cheb Hasni. Later in the decade, funk, hip hop and other influences were added to rai, especially by performers like the French star Faudel and Rachid Taha. Events and trends Technology Explosive growth of the Internet; decrease in the cost of computers and other technology Reduction in size and cost of mobile phones leads to a massive surge in their popularity Year 2000 problem (commonly known as Y2K) Microsoft Windows operating system becomes virtually ubiquitous on IBM... 1992 is a leap year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Khaled self titled album Khaled (album) released in 1992 is Khaleds self titled album, which established his reputation as a superstar in France and among Algerian immigrants around the world. ... The Republic of India is the second most populous country in the world, with a population of more than one billion, and is the seventh largest country by geographical area. ... Cheb Hasni (born Hasni Chekroun on February 1, 1968 in Oran, Algeria) was a performer of Algerian Raï music. ... Funk is a distinct style of music originated by African-Americans, e. ... Hip hop is a cultural movement that began amongst urban African American youth in New York and has since spread around the world. ... Faudel, born on June 6, 1978, is now considered the Prince of raï music. ... Rachid Taha (born 1958 in Oran, Algeria) is an Algerian musician. ...


Famous raï artists:


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