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Trab Music

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Album Review

Cheikha Remitti, the mother of Algerian raï music, has long been one of the genre's most important singers and songwriters, having broken taboo after taboo during her career. She's worked with both modern and traditional instrumentation, even successfully mixing the two on Nouar, her 2000 release. But Trab Music sends her all the way back to the roots of raï, accompanied by percussion and flutes for a magical desert experience. Her voice is marvelously cracked and weathered, with a deepness of tone that borders on the masculine. But don't be fooled by the sound; this is a woman, and one who has always been there to speak up for women — in the 1950s she released a song advising women to lose their virginity, which didn't go down too well in an Islamic country). Unless you speak Arabic, there's no hint as to the subject matter of her songs here, but on a musical level, that's irrelevant. The trancelike quality of the sound is more than enough to beguile the listener. Backed by two different ensembles, she undulates, and sometimes outright wails, her desert blues in a way that would be seen as unseemly for many women of 77, but which suits her perfectly. Very few artists revisit early raï these days; it's been consigned to the history books. But for Remitti, it's a part of her life, and she keeps it alive on records like this, even as she experiments on other discs. While it might not be the most obvious work in her canon, she shows the power of the music as it used to be.


Born: 08 May 1923 in Tessala, Algeria

Genre: World

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '80s, '90s, '00s

b. Saadia al-Ghizania, 8 May 1923, Tessala, Algeria, d. 15 May 2006, Paris, France. Born poor, Rimitti sang for food, gradually developing songwriting skills. Her material touched on poverty and oppression, especially as endured by Muslim women, in a style rooted in traditional raï. Her records were successful from 1952 onwards but "Charrak Gattà", which encouraged young women to lose their virginity, outraged orthodox Muslims. With Algerian independence her music was banned and she moved to France...
Full bio
Trab Music, Cheikha Rimitti
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: World, Music, Asia
  • Released: 12 September 2000

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