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Music of Algeria

Algerian music is virtually synonymous with raļ[?] among foreigners; the musical genre has achieved great popularity in France, Spain and other parts of Europe. For several centuries, Algerian music was dominated by styles inherited from Andalusia, eventually forming a unique North African twist on these poetic forms. Mixed with Ottoman influences, Algerian music came to include suites called nuubaat[?] (singular" nuuba). Later derivatives include rabaab[?] and hawzii[?].

Sha-bii[?] is, in most Arab countries, folk music; in Algeria, however, it refers to a style of recent urban popular music, of which the best known performer was El Hajj Muhammad El Anka[?]. True styles of folk music include hofii[?], a form of female vocal music, and zindalii[?], from Constantine[?].

Singers of rai are called cheb; 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. By the time rai began to spread outside North Africa, it already dominated lower-class Algerians and was quite popular in Morocco, Libya and Tunisia. The first cheb to find international success was Ahmad Baba Rachid[?], whose popularity began in 1976 (see 1976 in music). 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 Cheb album did the most to popularize him and the whole genre of rai.

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