The raï man returns


(Universal AZ/UK:Wrasse Records, 2004)

Here comes the latest album (and by far the best recent release) from the

. This is an album which will go down well with the home crowd.
Stylistically, Ya-Rayi
is a return-to-roots and we’re sure it will appeal
as much to the new global audience he’s garnered over the last 4 or 5 albums as
it will back home in Algeria. The big sound of his rocking band remains but its
excesses have been tempered. Simple, spicy arrangements set into a fine
production (mostly by the accomplished Philippe Edel) come together in a set of
10 fine new songs which delivers all of the passion of this world superstar with
all of the cheese removed.

This is raï as we know it of old, back in those heady mid-80s when the cheb
(kid) from Oran first emerged on the European scene courtesy of the wonderful
French-based Horizon Records (sadly long gone). It feels like he means it when
he declaims so passionately on the subject of the 2003 Algerian earthquake – ‘La
terre a tremblé – he’s not just going through the (e)motions as he seemed to be
doing on recent live appearances. Amongst other welcome guest appearances
Marseilles-based North African Jewish piano man Maurice el Medioni joins Khaled
for ‘H’mama’, shimmering with memories of a long-ago time. The easy ambiance of
the overall sound and atmosphere of Ya-Rayi
is sure to gather the maestro
an even larger fan base.

Buy Ya-Rayi