Dahmane el Harrachi

Chaabi Song of Algeria

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El Harrachi, the errant son of a religious dignitary, was one of the greatest singers of chaabi, the style that sprang from the mix of regional styles brought about by the urbanization of Algeria. He was the bard of the Algerian emigrés in France. His rough, bluesy voice was, in Algerian terms, totally unique. Because he sang so locally, he resonated universally. He was, in fact, a phenomenon and a treasure.