CHEB MAMI (real name Ahmed Khelifati Mohamed) is an Algerian born raï singer.
RAI is a form of folk music, originated in Oran, Algeria from Bedouin shepherds, mixed with Spanish, French, African and Arabic musical forms, which dates back to the 1930s and has been primarily evolved by women in the culture. The word raï is Arabic for “opinion.” Singers of raï are called cheb (young) as opposed to sheikh (old) the name given to Chaabi music singers; the tradition arose in cities like Oran and elsewhere in Tlemcen, primarily among the poor. The word raï means literally opinion but is colloquially used as an interjection along the lines of oh, yeah! Traditionally sung by men, at the turn of the 20th century, female singers became common. Rai musicians, as early as the 1930's, were singing about social issues which affected their arab colonies. They ranged from disease to the police of the colonies.  Much like today's rap stars and hip-hop artists they sung about the current issues around them which was indeed revoluationary for their time. It's popularity not only taken the traditional sounds of the Middle East and "updated" it, but pop rai' reputation as a racy type of music has also influenced a fusion between rai and rock and several other "up and coming" styles.
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