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The Rise of Raï Musician Khaled

Raï musician Khaled was born in the suburb of Sidi El Houari in Oran, on 29 Febuary 1960. Named Khaled Hadj Brahim at birth, he found his love for music at a very young age. By the time he was fourteen he, along with his band named Les Cinq Etoiles, was performing at weddings and parties. The stage was set for one of Algeria’s most talented performers to become an international star.

Khaled’s career as a musician and singer began with the release of his first song, “Trig El Lici”, which was recorded on a two-track tape in the year 1974. The song was an immediate hit with Algerian audiences and every radio station in Algeria was playing his song. Of course, the money did not come rolling in, so Khaled was forced to hold down jobs, such as being a cobbler and a waiter, to survive. The teenagers of Oran began to enjoy a new form of music that came on the scene in the 1970’s. It was rebellious, suggestive and encouraged everyone to have a party - it was Raï. Khaled soon became a Raï icon, with his unmatched singing talent and his ability to modernize the standard Raï Music. By the year 1976, the violinists that played for him were replaced by electric guitarists and in 1982, Khaled added drum machines and synthesizers. The only part of his music that remained constant was his use of controversial lyrics.

Recording studios and producers were not very interested in the quality of recordings. They wanted to record as fast as possible and spend the minimum to be able to get the cassettes out into the market. But no matter what the quality of the cassette, the Raï musician Khaled was selling cassettes faster than he could produce them.

Performing in France had always been a dream of Khaled’s, and in 1986 he finally got his chance when he was invited to perform at the Bobihny Raï Festival. It is here that he was finally offered a recording career by music promoter Djilali Ourak and soon after he released his first single in France, named “Hada Raïkoum”. His album, ‘Kutche”, was recorded in 1988 and he moved to France permanently soon after his album was released.

Khaled came from humble beginnings and fought his way to the top. Today, he has a fan base that stretches across the world and is known for his unique and intoxicating music. After climbing the charts with hit songs, receiving numerous awards and playing at sold out concert venues, he is not done yet. Khaled will most certainly be entertaining his faithful fans for years to come.

 



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