Khaled is an Algerian pop singer known as the King of Raï.
Working primarily in:
Description of Work:
Hadj Brahim Khaled eased into the Algerian music scene at an early age. As a teenager growing up during the 1970's in the Oran province, an area where cultures from Africa, the Middle East, and Europe converged, Khaled asserted his youthful unorthodoxy by claiming the moniker "Cheb" Khaled. The "Cheb" part of his name which means "young" was a direct attempt at contrasting himself from artists of the musical and cultural establishment who usually ported the tiltle "Chiekh" which means old. After forming his first band "Les Cinq Etoiles" at the age of 14, Khaled worked as many parties and cabarets as could while he was on, as he called his first single, "The Road to High School."
As the celebrated "King of Raï," Khaled has spent most of his career synthesising the influences that infused his childhood home in the colonial port town of Sidi-El-Houri such as those inherited from deep in the African contienent, instrumentation imported by the French and Spanish, and Arabic styles of expression, creating a sort of an old world Jazz who's jovial rebellion rubbed the newly impowered islamic fundamentalists the wrong way.
Because of Raï's secular subject matter of topics like women and alcohol, Khaled was virtually banned from the airwaves but garnered a popular enough fan base that he recieved death thearts. In the face of such danger, he moved to Paris in 1986 where he quickly set out for international stardom.
Soon after, he dropped the "cheb" from his name but maintained his oppositional stance against the establishment. In his chart-topping "Aicha," he advocates gender equality and, in other music, he has been known to take rather political stances.
He returns to his roots in his latest self-titled album on the Universal record label. Entirely in Arabic, Khaled loses himself in the styles and sounds of the old medinas in which he played as an obstinate youth in conflictual times.
(At a Glance)
Place of Origin: Algeria