17 May 2006

Cheikha Rimitti, Mother of Rai

What a legacy. As an orphaned girl named Saadia ("joyful"), she learned to sing as part of an itinerant troupe of traditional Algerian musicians. She went on to be one of the first Algerian women to sing publicly and release albums. During her career she wrote over 200 songs as well as mastering traditional material, though she never learned to read and write.

The performer who became known as Cheikha Rimitti passed on May 15 in Paris at the age of 83, still with an active schedule and two days after a performance at Zénith. Her legacy includes a thriving Rai scene.

[mp3] Cheikha Rimitti: "Nouar"
from the 2000 album Nouar
also appears on the 2002 compilation Sahara Groove

Hear full-length streaming songs at the official Cheikha Rimitti website. Or hear/buy Cheikha Rimitti mp3s at cheikharemitti.spintheglobemusic.net

Tributes are pouring in: Morocco Times, Times Online (UK).... Would love to hear from anyone who had a chance to see her perform.
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