Rai music is a common genre of world music in the country of Algeria in North Africa. Rai is pronounced "rah-AY" or "rye" and translates as "opinion." Rai music was created in the early 1900s as a mixture of folk music and traditional music from the Bedouin desert.
Rai was transformed in the 1900s but became a reality in the late 1970s and early 1980s when artists like Ahmad Baba Rachid combined traditional rai with modern pop sounds.
For listeners, much of Rai music would more or less resemble pop music, sung in Arabic, with a clear but not overwhelming influence from the beat of world beat. However, the instrumental and tonal influences of traditional Bedouin music, not to mention cultural and religious influences, are, in fact, such a major influence on the genre.
Rai musicians generally refer to the cheba (female Chaba) if they are young and play more modern Rai styles, and to the shikh / sheikh (female Shikha / sheikha) if they are older and play more traditional styles. These titles are cultural definitions and have positive and negative connotations in Islamic culture in Algeria as a whole.
Rai's lyrics are often harsh and powerful, describing the pain and joy of everyday life. Translations of Rai's songs are often read as texts that many would associate with the American blues. These texts often pose problems between the singers of the RAI and the Muslim fundamentalists of Algeria, and many musicians lived in exile in Egypt or France.
Unconsciously, many people know the sounds of Rai, since Sting (formerly of the classic rock band The Police) used the vocal styles of Rai Cheb Mami on his album Brand New Day and in Mami's work. This was particularly noticed in the song "Desert Rose." "
With notable albums such as Cheb Mami - Lazreg Saani, Cheb Khaled – Overtime, Cheikha Rimitti, and Cheb Khaled - King and Queen, Rai has positioned itself as one of the notable genres to come out of Africa.
While the Raï singers were confined to their country of origin, Algeria, the genre continued to gain pop ularity abroad. Singers such as Cheb Khaled, Cheb Mami, and Cheb Sahraoui have built successful careers far from home. However, the harmful effect has been that the rai has lost many of its distinct local characteristics. However, beyond the Moroccan border of the city of Oujda, the genre gains pop ularity; artists like Les Frères Bouchenak, Mohammed Ray, and Mimoun el Oujdi still sings the Rai music but with a combination of European influences with local forms of Rai.
Check out some of these Rai playing radio stations on RadioFm (Raintown[Germany], life4enjoy[Germany], Nigeria Info – 99.3 Fm[Nigeria], Bang! Station [Indonesia], SpiceFM – 96.4 FM [Bangladesh], and several others)