Page 1 of 1

Khaled - Rebel Of Rai

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:05 am
by Abdel Halim El Hachimi
Hot on the heels of his amazing new CD "Liberte", comes this timely, excellent compilation of early (Cheb) Khaled tracks, entitled "Rebel Of Rai". There have been a number of collections of songs from Khaled's Algerian-based years, with most of them being fairly patchy affairs. This set features 25 crucial tracks over 2 CDs and all in their original full-length versions. This last point is very significant as too many times in the past these songs have been butchered (on other compilations) and the intros cut off.

Many of the songs are now standards in the Khaled canon. Early hits like "Chebba", "La Camel" and "Serbi Serbi" have been relicked on later albums. "Yamina" and "Hada Raykoum" both feature on the new "Liberte" set but these original cuts are better. Incredibly the album contains Khaled's first ever recording "Trig Lycee" which was a hit when he was just fourteen years of age. This song is almost impossible to track down so full marks to <a>Nascente</a> for sourcing it for this set. I'm pleased to finally track down the killer song "Haya Ya" on CD as well as "Dour Wahran Dour", one of Khaled's best ever early recordings.

Khaled has released quite a lot of duff sides in his long career and you can usually find at least one or two examples on all his albums. His horrific and ill-advised covers of John Lennon's "Imagine" and Frank Sinatra's "My Way" a few years back were all signs of an artist who appeared to completely lose his way. The album "Ya Rayi" (2004) was a partial return to some kind of glory but no-one could have expected such a triumph with his "Liberte" set. On "Liberte" Khaled went full circle and returned to the classical roots of rai music. This is why this "Rebel Of Rai" set is so important as we can now clearly examine his music before it became overly westernised and subject to multiple external influences.

"Rebel Of Rai" features the original raw Algerian rai sound and Khaled's superlative talent is clearly on display. Sure, it sounds pretty dated at times, especially with some cheesy instrumentation. But in this age of over-produced music, too often the raw edge that makes music so compelling is depressingly absent. For example, I would always prefer to listen to some rough Studio One reggae sides than today's blandfest from Jamaica. And while modern rai is still in a big stagnant rut, it has taken Khaled to go back to the heart of the music in order to show the way forward. So it is in these rough and intense tunes that we are reminded not only how great Khaled was (and is) but also how brilliant rai music really is. Rai needs its rough edge in my opinion and ironically in this collection of old sides, lies the key to the future of rai.

(Read more news, reviews and observations about Rai and other oriental music at www.talesfrombradistan.blogspot.com)

Re: Khaled - Rebel Of Rai

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 6:11 pm
by jackdaw version
Any idea who the compiler is? Sounds like he or she did their homework.

Abdel Halim El Hachimi wrote: . . . His horrific and ill-advised covers of John Lennon's "Imagine" and Frank Sinatra's "My Way" a few years back were all signs of an artist who appeared to completely lose his way. . . .

This is the second time this week I've read a knock on Khaled's version of "Imagine." I beg to differ. It may not be his best track ever, but I find it a heartfelt plea for a vital quality that's unfortunately in increasingly short supply. I once played it on a radio show, Easter Sunday 2003, just after the horrific US attack on Iraq had begun — the whole show was dedicated to peace — and the track got good response from listeners who had no idea about rai. Admittedly, this is in the Pacific Northwest where musical tastes are not as keen as they are in the UK. Strangely, I don't even own a copy of John Lennon's original.

Re: Khaled - Rebel Of Rai

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 6:29 pm
by Dominic
jackdaw version wrote:Any idea who the compiler is? Sounds like he or she did their homework.

"Album compiled & sleeve notes by Tatiana Rucinska (DJ Aicha)"

PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 10:09 am
by Des
Just bought the CD and am listening now. The first CD is sounding a little over-produced, with lots of synth.....does it get better I wonder? Will report back...

PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:59 pm
by Des
This is a useful enough retrospective of the great man, but Liberte is just so fantastic it seems unfair to compare it with the latter work. I'll give it foive.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 9:14 pm
by Abdel Halim El Hachimi
Des wrote:This is a useful enough retrospective of the great man, but Liberte is just so fantastic it seems unfair to compare it with the latter work. I'll give it foive.


It cannot be compared but the point is that Khaled has come full circle in his career and that is one of the key reasons why this compilation is so essential. Great music too by the way.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:07 am
by Des
Yep sorry the music is undeniably great (am listening again to it as I write) - it definitely has a 'classic' feel. I will absorb it some more before going back to Liberte.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 1:06 pm
by Abdel Halim El Hachimi
Liberte is a modern day classic and I think these 2 sets can be listened to "side by side" to a point as they both compliment each other, despite being so different in multiple ways.

Khaled - Rebel of Rai

PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 10:07 am
by Ian C.
Bought this album recently and, in comparison to other Khaled "Early Years" compilations, this one stands out a mile.

Found this write-up on FLY - written by the compiler - certainly adds further depth and dimension:
www.flyglobalmusic.com/fly/archives/afr ... rly_y.html