Sofiane Saidi is the last proponent of Raï, traditional Algerian folk music that originated among the poor population of the city of Oran in the 1920s. It is a sound that carries messages of anti-corruption, social upheaval, disease and colonial oppression. Known as the Prince of Raï 2.0, Saidi's lilting, raspy tones transport the essence of this music into a globalized Twenty-Fiirst Century, merging it with urban rhythms, 80s rock, Senegalese Mbalax, Gnawa trance and more. It marks a new vision of North African music, which Saidi has spread throughout the world in collaboration with French groups like Acid Arab, on the critically acclaimed 2016 album, Music of France.
Here, he is joined by Mazalda, an octet that realizes his vision of a large brass and rhythm section merging with the phrasing of the mezouet, the gasbah and electronic motifs that breath new life into the mystical music of the Maghreb. But beyond the complex lineage, it is the pure effect it has on audiences that gives this sound its wings. Whereas, once upon a time, this music would have been enjoyed in its own cultural bubble, international audiences are now able to experience the infectious rhythms, the trace-inducing build-ups and the timeless poetic phrasing that Saidi has been mastering since his teenage years.
It represents the beauty of the global music revolution, within which Saidi electrifies and democratizes the sounds of his ancestors and adds more depth to an existing wellspring of beauty and wisdom.
Zycopolis Archives 2019