The first rai artist to tour North America, Cheb Sahraoui (born: Mohammed Sahraoui) has consistently expanded on the musical traditions of Algeria's rai. A highly skilled pianist who studied at Oran's conservatory of music for four years, he was the first rai artist to incorporate a synthesizer into his arrangements. Sahraoui initially attracted international attention with a duo that he shared with his wife, Cheba Fadela, for more than a decade and a half. Performing as a soloist beginning in the late '90s when the partnership split, his debut solo album, Un Homme Libre (A Free Man), was released in 2000. Sahraoui launched his musical career by singing rai classics and Beatles tunes in the nightclubs of Oran. His first hit, "Ana Mahlali Noum," was released in 1978, although his greatest success came when he joined his wife to record the hit song "N'sel Fik. The single became an international hit and was subsequently remixed by German band the 49ers. Following the murder of rai vocalist Cheb Hasni, in 1994, Sahraoui emigrated to France.
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