The Women of Rai

Featuring Cheikha Rimitti . Ya Milouda . Chekha Djenia . Chikha Fatima . Zohra Relizania . Cheba Kheira . Cheba Maria . Gouli Je T’Aime . Zahouania . Sah Eliyali . Medahattes . Rai

Wikipedia : Another group of female social outcasts were called cheikhas, who were known for their alluring dress, hedonistic lyrics, and a form of music that combined that of the cheikhs, meddhahates and zendani singers. These cheikhas sang for both men and women, and included Cheikha Remitti el Reliziana, perhaps the most famous cheikha.

Rod Skilbeck : The literal translation of rai is “opinion” (along with “my way”, “tell it like it is!” and many other possible translations) Rai is the symbol of a lifestyle of cynicism and anti-authoritarianism. Even the lyrics of 70+ year old Rimitti show this tendency: “Oh my love, to gaze upon you is sin – It’s you who makes me break my fast… – It’s you who makes me ‘eat’ during Ramadan.”, and, “People adore God, I adore beer”

About.com : Rai musicians generally refer to themselves as either cheb (feminine chaba) if they are young and playing more modern styles of Rai, and shikh/cheikh (feminine shikha/cheikha) if they are older and playing more traditional styles. These titles are cultural definitions, and they have both positive and negative connotations within the Algerian Islamic culture as a whole.

culturebase.net : In the late seventies, Cheba Fadela was discovered by the legendary Rai producer, Rachid Baba Ahmed. Ahmed’s modern 24 track studio in Tlemcen was the power house that produced Algerian Pop-Rai.

Vademecum Arabic Music : After assassination of Cheb Hasni, Cheba Zahounia flew to France where she keep recording Rai tracks which made her one of the famous rai performers and earned her a title of Princess of Traditional and Modern Rai music

The Leopard Man’s African Music Guide : Definitely the first Lady of rai, Cheikha Remitti was born Saadia in the small town of Relizane in Oran. She was orphaned at an early age and as a young woman, made her daily bread by working as a dancer with a group of cheiks who performed rural music in the streets of Oran

IMDB : In “Rai Story: From Cheikha Rimitti to Cheba Djenet”, While on their quest to interview the legendary Cheikha Remitti, the filmmakers meet with singers such as Bouthelja Belkacem, Cheba Dalila and Cheba Djenet. They trace the transformation of rai music through the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, exploring the careers of the musicians that have helped to keep this musical tradition alive.

Reverbnation : Cheika Rabia has remained faithful to this ‘rai of the roots’ called trab (land, country), whose poetical verve has been remembered orally. To a backdrop of gasba (reed flute) and guella (a long percussion) her moving voice sings laments about thwarted love (Welli ya radjel, Matsaqsouniche), dreams of elsewhere as an escape from solitude, moral and sexual distress (Ya ghayeb fi França), and the sometimes tragic fate of women betrayed by their emotions (Matsaqsouniche, Nebghik).