Cheikha and the Groove

I’ve always loved listening to music from different places and cannot for the life of me understand people who think that the best thing to listen to is what 80 milion or more other people like… Youtube has become my music delivery vehicle of choice and I like randomly searchng for music from different places from all over the world.

Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Algerian music. In terms of the Arab world I think I find North Africa to be the most interesting culturally and politically. I don’t know enough Arabic of any kind to have any idea what a lot of the music is about but it’s tremendously enjoyable in ways that most Western music has long since lost.

In Algeria the terms cheb/chaba (kid/girl) have long been used as nicknames for singers, especially (mainly? only?) in Raï music from Oran. More senior performers get to use Cheikh/Cheikha.

This song is a new favorite with a hints of Sub-Saharan Africa (that horn section) and her husky voice floats over and through the easy danceable groove, just right for a long wedding party (in the Arabic-speaking world commercial recordings mostly function as advertising for performers who make a living through live appearances, especially at weddings). Raï music is also famously risqué so if you know any Algerian Arabic speaking kids you probably don’t want them listening….

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