Thursday, 19 December 2013

Rai a drop of golden sun

You know the situation.

Every so often a song plays on the radio, you sit up and take notice, and then the bugger is stuck in your head for days.

Such is the case for me with this song (as heard on BBC Radio 3 recently) - Aïcha by Algerian Raï singer Cheb Khaled:

  • Raï is a form of folk music that originated in Oran, Algeria from Bedouin shepherds, mixed with Spanish, French, African and Arabic musical forms, which dates back to the 1930s.
  • Singers of Raï are called Cheb ("young").
  • Oran, a seaport in Western Algeria, was invaded by the Spanish in the 16th century; Spanish troops kept women there to entertain the troops, and the city has retained a reputation for hedonism ever since.
  • Often subject to state censorship and attempted control for the popularity of its secular and liberal tradition, Raï has been adopted by young people in particular - and newer forms such as "Raï rock" and "Raï'n'B" have emerged.

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