KHALED, LIBERTÉ (WRASSE RECORDS)
[DUNKELBUNT]
A NEW DAY; LAYA PROJECT REMIXED
ADDIS ACOUSTIC PROJECT
AFRO ROOTS WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL
AMADOU & MARIAM
ANTÓNIO ZAMBUJO
APHRODESIA
BALKANBEATS
BANCO DE GAIA
BOBAN I MARKO MARKOVIC ORKESTAR
BOBAN I MARKO MARKOVIC
BOY WITHOUT GOD
C.J. CHENIER
CARLOS GOGO GOMEZ
CHOBAN ELEKTRIK
CHOPTEETH
CHRISTIANE D
CHRISTINE VAINDIRLIS
CLARA PONTY
COPAL
CUCHATA
DAMJAN KRAJACIC
DANIEL CROS
DEBO & FENDIKA
DEL CASTILLO
DR JAYANTHI KUMARESH
EARTHRISE SOUNDSYSTEM
EGYPT NOIR
ELIN FURUBOTN
EMILY SMITH
FANFARE CIOCARLIA VS. BOBAN & MARKO MARKOVIC
FEUFOLLET
FIAF PRESENTS WORLD NOMADS MOROCCO: MUSIC
FOOTSTEPS IN AFRICA
GECKO TURNER
GENTICORUM
GEOFF BERNER
GIANMARIA TESTA
GODS ROBOTS
GUARCO
HUUN HUUR TU
INDIAN OCEAN
IRENE JACOB & FRANCIS JACOB
JANAKA SELEKTA
JANYA
JERRY LEAKE
JOAQUIN DIAZ
JOEL RUBIN
JORGE STRUNZ
JOSEF KOUMBAS
JOYFUL NOISE (I GRADE RECORDS)
JUST A BAND
KAMI THOMPSON
KARTICK & GOTAM
KHALED
KHING ZIN & SHWE SHWE KHAING
KITKA'S CAUCASIAN CONNECTIONS PROJECT PERFORMANCES AND WORKSHOPS
KMANG KMANG
KOTTARASHKY AND THE RAIN DOGS
LA CHERGA
LAC LA BELLE
LAYA PROJECT
LENI STERN
LES TRIABOLIQUES
LISTEN FOR LIFE
LOBI TRAORÉ
LO'JO
LOKESH
MAGNIFICO
MAHALA RAI BANDA
MIDNITE
MOHAMMED ALIDU AND THE BIZUNG FAMILY
MR. SOMETHING SOMETHING
MY NAME IS KHAN
NAWAL
NAZARENES
NO STRANGER HERE (EARTHSYNC)
OCCIDENTAL BROTHERS ON TOUR
OCCIDENTAL GYPSY
OREKA TX
ORQUESTRA CONTEMPORÂNEA DE OLINDA
PABLO SANCHEZ
PEDRO MORAES
RAYA BRASS BAND
SALSA CELTICA
SAMITE
SARA BANLEIGH
SARAH AROESTE
SELAELO SELOTA
SHYE BEN-TZUR
SIA TOLNO
SIBIRI SAMAKE
SISTER FA
SLIDE TO FREEDOM II
SONIA BREX
SOSALA
SWEET ELECTRA
SYSTEMA SOLAR
TAGA SIDIBE
TAJ WEEKES
TARANA
TARUN NAYAR
TE VAKA
TELEPATH
THE MOUNTAIN MUSIC PROJECT
THE NATIVE AMERICA NORTH SHOWCASE
THE SPY FROM CAIRO
TITO GONZALEZ
TOUSSAINT
VARIOUS ARTISTS
VARIOUS ARTISTS
WATCHA CLAN
WHEN HARRY TRIES TO MARRY SOUNDTRACK
WOMEXIMIZER
WOMEXIMIZER
ZDOB SI ZDUB
ZIETI
CD Review

Click Here to go back.
The Phantom TollBooth, CD Review >>

In his native Algeria, and even across North Africa, Khaled is a star, and has been since 1985, when he was crowned “King of Rai” in his late teens at the Rai Festival in Oran, the city which is home to the musical style. Eleven years later, his “Aicha,” with its French lyrics, became the biggest hit of the year in France and brought both Khaled and rai music into the mainstream. After making France his home, he scaled heights of fame that no other Arabic singer had reached. This led to working with western producers from Don Was to Steve Hillage, which some say gradually over-westernised him and ended up with his voice buried in layers of keyboards.

Commercial success has enabled Khaled a level of independence that has led to a reputation for hedonism in his home country. Neither has a prolonged absence from his homeland during politically stressed times gone down well there either. However, the appeal of this album to western ears, on which the politics and cultural values of Algeria will be lost, comes mainly from both his distinctive, classic North African vocal style – now set free from layers of technology to soar – and the gorgeous Egyptian strings that punctuate the spacious sound. 

On the title track we get a slow taster of the song to come, but instead of its swirling keyboard accents, beats and punchy horns, there is just a sparse synth accompanying meandering accordion and slow voice. This is a feature of the disc; several tracks have these slow previews. “Yamina” has a similar one, with brooding strings, ney flute and a slow vocal that works like a sonic elastic band being pulled back, ready to spring the main track into life. Once unleashed, it updates a traditional sound with Euro-pop beats, interspersed with Khaled’s own accordion playing and a few stabs of brass.

Strongest highlights include the reprise of his earlier hit “Raikoum,” with its infectious dance beats and insistent horns, but coming very close is “Ya Bouya Kirani,” where sensuous exotic strings and some occasional sinewy woodwind augment slower, sultry rhythms. “Soghri” enjoys similar features.

The very twangy “Gnaoui” – a tribute to the Gnawas, whose ancestors came to North Africa as slaves – also stands out with its strong acoustic, bluesy feel and prominent percussive beats.

It’s hard to make my mind up about “Sidi Rabbi,” which has a strange burst of reggae and a short guitar solo in the middle. While they intrude, they do add some variety. “Papa” also has some diversity, but more in keeping with the rest of the disc. It is a slow ballad, the backing track more western in style, down to the slow build and key change as it reaches for its climax. Not only is it sung in French (which makes it easier to understand), but the whole musical style sounds like it is aimed squarely at the French MOR market. 

Produced again by Martin Meissonnier, known for his work with Fela Kuti and King Sunny Ade, this is Khaled at his purest. It sets his voice free to soar, swoop, play with hypnotic rhythms and engage with a mix of moods… and those strings, well it wouldn’t be the same without them. 

Derek Walker

 11/03/09 >> go there

Click Here to go back.

To listen to audio on Flipswitch, you'll need to Get the Flash Player

log in to access downloads

©2019 and beyond, FlipSwitch, LLC