Excellent article by Ted Swedenburg on Khaled and rai — debunks prevalent misconceptions about both. Brilliant! Check out Ted’s HawgBlawg — well worth the time.
Cheb Khaled, the Algerian rai singer who is probably the best-known Arabic singer on the planet, was selected this summer as one of NPR’s 50 Great Voices. Banning Eyre, a regular commentator on World Music on NPR and producer for Afropop Worldwide who has worked tirelessly to promote music from Africa, including the Maghreb, introduced Khaled to the NPR audience. Unfortunately, his introduction of Khaled repeated several unfortunate and misleading myths about rai music. Eyre presents a picture of an exceptional artist who favors tolerance and peace, and whose courageous positions have angered many Muslims and forced him to take refuge in the West. Eyre depicts Khaled as well as a kind of “bad boy,” in the image of a U.S. rock’n'roller. Khaled, from “a land [Algeria] torn apart by intolerance and violence,” says Eyre, “stood out as an artist who embraced openness and peace.” The real story of Khaled is more interesting, one rooted in Algerian politics and in its large and vibrant musical scene.
- Khaled: The King Of Rai (npr.org)