Le Prince du Raï
Horizon Music (2)
Cheb Mami had been a prominent musician in Raï circles throughout the 1980s, playing live gigs and big festivals in Algeria — with the support of Cheb Khaled, the King of Raï himself — and later in France, where he moved to escape oppression and violence in the midst of rising tensions at home. Here he became a regular on the Parisian club circuit, but it was this 1988 album that made him an international star. As a member of the “new” generation of Raï musicians, he mixed traditional instrumentation like darbuka and violin with bright synths, funky electric guitar, and synthetic, drum-machine rhythms.