Algerian raï superstar Khaled releases his first new album in five years today with the long-awaited Liberté on Wrasse records.
Recorded with legendary Fela and King Sunny Adé producer Martin Meissonnier, the new album casts off the synth-heavy production of Khaled's more recent work to rediscover the raw vocal power that made the Algerian singer a legend in the first place. A range of instruments including accordion, gimbri, ney flute, guellal, and soaring Egyptian strings give Liberté a strong acoustic feel.
Khaled takes musical liberties on this new album, too, straying beyond raï and the city of Oran and voyaging towards Béchar and the hypnotic trance rhythms of Algeria's south as well as diwan (traditional Algerian Gnawa music boosted by Meissonnier's electronic bass) to create his own fusion sound, mixing North African raï with Middle Eastern strings.
Khaled also re-recorded new versions of a fewl of his old songs on Liberté, including his early hit "Raïkoum". But the outstanding feature of this new album is the reinstatement of the "intro", a scene-setting prelude on which the singer's carefully modulated voice extrapolates on the theme of each song.