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About Cheikha Rimitti

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 but toured Algeria where in 1971 a car crash killed three of her supporting musicians and left her in a coma. Recovering, she changed her lifestyle, but maintained her repertoire of outspoken compositions.

In the early 90s, Rimitti developed a new repertoire with contemporary touches to rai that widened her audience. Her popularity again high she recorded 1994's Sidi Mansour, with Robert Fripp and members of Frank Zappa's band; she in Paris, they in Los Angeles. Often, her artistic success was affected by claims of financial duplicity. Rimitti made her hugely successful American debut in 2001, singing at New York City's Central Park Summerstage. She can be seen in Rai Story: From Cheikha Rimitti To Cheba Djenet (2004). Her discography is extensive, with scores of cassette releases, and only a handful of CDs (listed below).

Tessala, Algeria
May 8, 1923

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