Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cheb Mami

Cheb Mami is an Algerian raï singer who later emigrated to France. He was born Ahmad Khelifati in 1966, in Saida, Algeria. Mami began his career singing at weddings. His plaintive voice earned him the nickname "Mami," which means "the mourner."

Meli meli

Mami's daring innovations pushed rai style of music to new levels of artistic sophistication, assuring its place as a vital component of world music. In 1999, after an eight-year absence during which the Algeria was riven by political and religious strife, Cheb Mami returned home to perform at an open-air concert in Algiers. The concert was a triumph, attracting an audience of 100,000.

Sting feat. Cheb Mami

Speaking of this experience, Mami was quoted by Dan Rosenberg in the Metro Times as saying, "I have hope for Algeria's future.... This concert was to raise morale and to turn the page after all that has happened in Algeria. I hope, above all, that this concert will lead other singers to return home after me."