Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: World Music, Pop
Paralleling the origins of the Western world's early rock & roll, punk, and hip-hop (as well as the blues and reggae), rai originated in Algeria's underclass as homegrown recreational art. The personal became political,... more »
Paralleling the origins of the Western world's early rock & roll, punk, and hip-hop (as well as the blues and reggae), rai originated in Algeria's underclass as homegrown recreational art. The personal became political, and as its popularity (and controversy) grew, the music--marked by raw, provocative, and willful vocals--became a beautifully uplifting and rebellious expression, a flag claimed and raised high by Algeria's young. One of the form's earliest innovators, Cheb Mami fled to Paris where he has for two decades been a rising star, blending rai with dance, hip-hop, funk, and rock, in a string of ever-more accessible recordings. His international calling card, however, was backing Sting on the if-you-haven't-heard-it-you've-been-living-under-a-rock "Desert Rose." Neither a purist nor a misstep-fearing artist, Mami goes for broke with his brave new record, Dellali. Sinewy, sophisticated, and genre-expansive, Dellali features Mami's barbed-wire vocals cutting through multi-layered fields of wild and orchestral violin, accordion, cello, oud, and drums. In turnabout, Sting backs Mami on a track, and late Nashville sensation Chet Atkins is on guitar on backing vocals. But the most shimmering and soulful moments come when the London Community Gospel Choir bust a glorious move to make Dellali a grandiose explosion of nearly perfect sound. --Paige La Grone
Sweet and refreshing - Mint tea for the masses
Rebecca Whiting | Beautiful Bell Gardens, CA | 11/17/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Dellali (The Beloved) is rai music for a cosmopolitan audience. The production is so tight, and the range of foreign music which is incorporated in the tracks so broad, that you might call this pop music. That may be why rai purists object to this album.
A word to those unfamiliar with rai: this music is to Algeria what banda/nortenas are to Mexico. Earthy themes are often expressed in a vulgar way. The melody melts away in the face of the thumpa-thumpa-thumpa of the chintzy MIDI-keyboard beats. Cheb Mami has always reached beyond those base elements. His music speaks of lovely and tender things. His voice is high and clear and always dominates the songs.
The guest artists are great. For example, Ziggy Marley performs on "Madanite" and his participation is a crucial part of the track. This is no twenty-second solo thrown in to add ethnic flavor. "Viens habibi" features French chanson singer Charles Aznavour, and the accordion melody has a funky cabaret sound. So: rai fusion, if you need a designation.
This is good music. It's not challenging or cerebral music. But it's very warm and insanely danceable.
Let's all buy this album and celebrate the gorgeous voice of Cheb Mami, whose first solo American tour was cancelled after September 11. (He won't perform in his native Algeria, either, to protect the safety of his fans.) Naturally, if you can't enjoy his voice in concert, a CD will suffice. But maybe some brisk sales will entice him to come back on tour."
Rai Fusion Served Up in Swirling Bazaar of Danceable Music
Ed Uyeshima | San Francisco, CA USA | 02/17/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Like everyone else who was not familiar with rai, the Algerian-based percussive musical movement that has cut a wide swath in world music, I was introduced to Cheb Mami through his provocative singing on Sting's "Desert Rose". Upon a friend's recommendation, I bought this disc and was pleasantly surprised by its diversity and from-the-heart musical expression. While it does have that spice bazaar vibe that may seem alienating to those less amenable to what could be considered a niche market, the recording also presents a spirited mix of sounds - reggae, techno, gospel - without appearing to compromise the rai style Cheb Mami is attempting to spread worldwide.
Mami sings with seemingly great abandon with his recognizable falsetto voice, and it is this bravado that carries this highly rhythmic disc. He has assembled an impressive list of world-class musicians to help him - the late Chet Atkins, Omar Hakim, Nile Rodgers, Nitin Sawheny and in a fair trade deal, Sting. Most of the tracks are definitely ear-catching, but three stand out on their own - "Rim Lachoua", which has traces of Rodgers' late seventies-era sound mixed with a percolating bass/accordion combination; "Ana Oualache", a gospel number in an exotic setting that succeeds thanks to Indio-Anglo mixmaster Sawheny's blend of Mami's elevated voice with a back-up chorus (including Sting), string section, and digital beats; and best of all, the opening song, "Le Rai C'est Chic", which mixes his voice with some synthesized vocals that is irresistibly danceable. "Dellali" is a worthy introduction to rai-fusion, including exotic instruments like the djembe and derbouka, and certainly to the mesmerizing voice of Mami. Highly recommended for the more musically adventurous."
A mix of modern beats
mitzigg04 | VA | 05/31/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Cheb Mami here has a mix of modern styles and fushion. While number 1 and 10 are catchy, most of the songs are a bit slow and sometimes hard to listen to. I think it is a new direction from Meli Meli and he hasn't hit it too off by trying out some new styles of rai."