13 Songs, 1 Hour 2 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Arguably the most popular Algerian recording artist of his day, Cheb Khaled was responsible for bringing Rai (a rowdy, percussion-laden form of Algerian folk) to international prominence. When the teenage Khaled began singing Rai in the mid-‘70s, its unflinching treatment of topics like political unrest, alcohol, and sexual activity placed it well outside of Algeria’s cultural mainstream. Though figures like Bellamou Messaoud had already had minor hits by the time Khaled began his career, Khaled’s drum machine and synth-laden recordings lent a modern sheen to the traditional Rai sound and won him a devout fan base among Algerian youth. Maghreb Soul collects 13 recordings from the height of Khaled’s career, including a number of selections from 1988’s Kutché: a collaboration with Safy Boutella that was one of the first Rai albums to see international release. Though this compilation omits many of Khaled’s most influential recordings, such as the galvanizing protest anthem “El Harba Wayn,” it remains a serviceable introduction to Khaled’s work.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Arguably the most popular Algerian recording artist of his day, Cheb Khaled was responsible for bringing Rai (a rowdy, percussion-laden form of Algerian folk) to international prominence. When the teenage Khaled began singing Rai in the mid-‘70s, its unflinching treatment of topics like political unrest, alcohol, and sexual activity placed it well outside of Algeria’s cultural mainstream. Though figures like Bellamou Messaoud had already had minor hits by the time Khaled began his career, Khaled’s drum machine and synth-laden recordings lent a modern sheen to the traditional Rai sound and won him a devout fan base among Algerian youth. Maghreb Soul collects 13 recordings from the height of Khaled’s career, including a number of selections from 1988’s Kutché: a collaboration with Safy Boutella that was one of the first Rai albums to see international release. Though this compilation omits many of Khaled’s most influential recordings, such as the galvanizing protest anthem “El Harba Wayn,” it remains a serviceable introduction to Khaled’s work.

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