Algerian Rai! Essay

Submitted By tjs96
Words: 637
Pages: 3

ESSAY No. (#1)
WORDCOUNT: 630 words
The Rise of Algerian Rap from Traditional Raï
The newly up and coming Algerian rap although seemingly very different from the more traditional raï , which was originated in Oran, are essentially very similar genres. A very insightful observation that Andy Morgan made about American rap, and Algerian Raï was that
American rap and Algerian raï are both styles born out of a strong local culture which use the language of the street in order to express opinions about street life... They are the musical styles most favored by the dispossessed in their respective countries, by those who have little to lose and a lot to say.1
Rap and Raï come from the same place in the heart. It comes from a place of despair, anger, frustration, lust, and unrest. During the time after World War II there was civil unrest in Algeria because of the French residency, and land-grabbing. There were also many other cultures such as the Jewish community, and the Spanish community who were inhabiting Algeria at the time. The frustration from this unrest, and the mixture of other cultures were some of the aspects that helped form the flavorful and passionate sound of Raï music. However Raï was not always the painstakingly honest, and at times raunchy musical genre we know it as now. In the beginning in order to be deemed a cheikh you had to go through a long rigorous process learning melhun poems with a 'master', and only when you were approved by your master could you be called a cheikh. These cheikhs were all very elite members of society, and even collaborated with the French at times. However when times began to take a turn for the worst with the colonists taking land, and many Algerians being thrown onto the street the cheikhs were not able to put a voice to this despair. This is where the Raï that we know of was birthed. The street poets began to sing zendanis or bar songs which combined the melhun with the personal style or wit of the artist. With the mixture of the old, and new this music was able to remember its roots while also giving a voice to the social dishevel the people of Algeria were facing. A good way to describe how this new Raï was brought about is “On a foundation of urbanized Bedouin and urban folk traditions of the Oran region, young amateur musicians have