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Ahmed Khelifati Mohamed
Ahmed Khelifati Mohamed

France

Cheb Mami,is an Algerian-born raï singer.from Saida, on the high mesas of southwestern Algeria. He sings in Algerian & Egyptian Arabic and French


Plus de utilisateur: lremy
Creer: 27th Mar 2008
Modifier: 14th Jul 2008
Professional Information
Professional Areas:
Music
Employer:
Disco Maghreb & Virgin Records
Position:
singer-songwriter, Intrumentalist
Working primarily in:
Algeria

Description of Work:

Career moves

Growing up with parents in the city of Saida to a family of factory workers, Cheb Mami, as he is known, found an escape in music. He began singing and playing the accordion on Saida streets and by 1980 began performing at local weddings and ceremonies.

In 1982, singing competition organised by Radio Télevision Algérienne in which the 16-year-old adolescent sang on the "Alhan wa Chabab" as well sang "El Marsam" (The Sanctuary) a classic of Oranese music from the 1920s. The audience was transfixed by the sheer emotion of his performance and by his concordant vocal intonations which captured perfectly the flavour of the song's title. Rai, the genre of music depicting Algeria's culture had not yet been re-popularized, thus the first prize went to the contestant that sang a cover version of a hit by the famous Egyptian diva, Umm Kulthum.

It was a matter of time before Cheb Mami was spotted by Boualem, the producer of the Oran label, Disco Maghreb, and the cassette waltz began. During 1982 and 1985, Cheb Mami recorded about ten cassettes, whose production varied from 100,000 to 500,000 copies.

Cheb Mami made his first official public appearance at the First Oran Raï Festival in 1985, which marked the official recognition of the genre by the Algerian authorities.

By 1985 Mami decidely went to Paris to find his musical niche; fusing blues, funk, salsa, reggae, hip hop and Algerian rhythms, while integrating touches of his idols Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding and French rapper MC Solaar. He began making recordings and performing in cabarets in the Paris suburb of Barbès. He also toured the United States, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Scandinavia and England.

Type and Genre

Mami’s music is a blend of Mediterranean and Western influences including Turkish, Flamenco and Greek music as well as Latin music. His voice is tinged with Andalusian accents, and his music is an amalgamation of the traditional and the modern styles of singing and creation of music.

History of his Recordings

Mami’s music is a blend of Mediterranean and Western influences including Turkish, Flamenco and Greek music as well as Latin music. His voice is tinged with Andalusian accents, and his music is an amalgamation of the traditional and the modern styles of singing and creation of music.

In 1999, Mami topped the French pop charts with a groundbreaking duet with French rapper K-Mel, “Parisien du Nord.” The song was an anthem against racism that seamlessly made the transition between hip hop and rai, and introduced throngs of young new audiences to rai. This song explores the racist issues between Arabs and French and the challenges of identity. As well as recording many straight raï songs, Cheb Mami has achieved crossover success with the backing vocals on Sting's hit "Desert Rose" and "Youm Wara Youm" the title track of which is a duet with Samira Said . When Sting's album was released in 2000, the pair's duet, "Desert Rose", went rocketing to the top of singles charts around the world, fulfilling Mami's long-held dream of internationalising Raï sounds.

Perhaps Mami's most successful recording is the album Dellali, produced by former Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers, the album's lead single was "Le Rai C'est Chic". This track which opens the album, “is an energetic dance track skyrocketing his international success, and namely his recognition in mainstream American popular culture, which has led many to coin him the “Prince of Rai”.





Biographical Information
Ahmed Khelifati Mohamed
(At a Glance)
Date of Birth: Jul/11/1966
Interests: promoting his cultural heritage, accentuating Rai music, travelling
Website: http://www.che...
Place of Origin: Algeria




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