14 July 2010

Cheb Nacim's New Old Rai

CD REVIEW
Cheb Nacim: Algerian Rai (ARC Music)
by SoundRoots guest blogger Alexis Bonari

While many have accused traditional Rai music of following predictable themes, there’s nothing predictable about Cheb Nacim's new album entitled Algerian Rai. Instead of following the traditional Rai model, almost sickly-sweet lyrics and predictable beats, Cheb Nacim incorporated traditional beats into his songs. Now, along with the traditional Rai elements, one can hear the sounds of flamenco, salsa, and rumba. These added elements are the keys of his success.

Salsa with a "desert feel"
In Algerian Rai, Nacim takes a risky stylistic move by including songs recorded in a club-remix style. To balance out this blend of the modern and traditional, he also adds songs with a more "desert feel."


The future of Nacim and Rai
Well received in France and the United Kingdom, Cheb Nacim will certainly dominate the rai market with Algerian Rai. Despite efforts by the more extreme elements of radical Islam in Algeria, his work continues to be distributed by both mainstream and black market sources.

While the face of rai may be changing, the essentials remain the same. Cheb Nacim’s latest album seeks to prove that this style can be adapted to more modern venues, and this listener is convinced that he has succeeded in doing just that.

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Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at onlinedegrees.org, researching areas of online universities. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

Thanks to Alexis for the review. SoundRoots is always open to guest bloggers/reviewers -- if you have an idea or a completed piece that would fit on SoundRoots, get in touch. Also, a shout out to readers/listeners Peter and Andy for their contributions to the Spin The Globe Audio Archive / Podcast fund. You can join them by clicking the donation button on the right ==>>



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