Various Artists

Treasures of Algerian Music

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To all but the hardcore followers of Algerian music, the names of the performers on this double-CD set will mean nothing. But to those who love (or want to discover) the roots of modern Algerian music, these 30 tracks, culled from the vaults of Algerian radio, are a treasure trove. From the sha'bi (or chaabi) style, the people's music with its accessible sound and sweeping lyrics, and frequent guitar accompaniment, or the roots of the better-known rai, the hawz, or the folk Kabyle style, which was revitalized after the Second World War (well-represented here by Slimane Azem, this covers a very wide and gratifying range). Probably the only familiar track here is the stirring "Ya Rayah," which was covered in the mid-'90s by Rachid Taha, although in its own way, the original rocks very hard. But never mind the unfamiliarity; this is all remarkable stuff indeed, performed with a rare fire and grace.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2:51
2 4:27
3 3:23
4 2:52
5 3:29
6
3:53
7 3:39
8 4:21
9 3:51
10 4:02
11 3:48
12 3:49
13 3:26
14 3:53
15 3:14
16 3:48
17 3:13
18 3:35

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:23
2
3:54
3 3:11
4
3:36
5
4:05
6 3:42
7 3:20
8
1:41
9
3:01
10 2:56
11
4:18
12 2:34
13 3:42
14 3:13
15 3:36
16 3:31
17 3:51
18 3:27
19 4:15
20 3:01
blue highlight denotes track pick