Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Khaled Hadj Brahim (Arabic: خالد حاج ابراهيم‎, born 29 February 1960), better known as Khaled, is a raï singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist born in Sidi-El-Houari in Oran Province of Algeria. He began recording in his early teens under the name Cheb Khaled (Arabic for "Young man Khaled") and has become the most internationally famous Algerian singer in the Arab World and across many continents. His popularity has earned him the unofficial title "King of Raï". His most famous songs are "Aïcha" and "Didi"
At the age of fourteen Khaled formed his first band, Les Cinq Étoiles ("The Five Stars"), and began playing at wedding parties and local cabarets. He recorded his first solo single, "Trigue Lycée" ("Road to High School"), at the same age[1] and soon became involved with the early 1980s changes in the Raï sound, incorporating western instruments and studio techniques.[citation needed]
[edit] Islamic fundamentalists' threats

Algerian Islamic fundamentalists were violently opposed to raï because of its sometimes irreverent tone and the fact that raï singers freely addressed issues considered taboo in Islam, like sex, drugs, and alcohol.[2]

Singers like Khaled articulated socially progressive, more modern themes that many younger people identified with, a way of rebelling against the constraints of the older generations and more traditional Islam. As Khaled says himself, "in rai music, people can express themselves. We break taboos".[3] This open embracing of taboo subjects in Islamic culture can be witnessed in the video of Khaled's hit song, "Didi", showing women provocatively dressed and dancing, both taboos in Islamic culture.

However, due the nature of these lyrics, fundamentalists were infuriated when the Algerian government, in the wake of a hugely popular 1985 raï festival in Oran, officially declared it to be one of the country's native music styles. In response, fundamentalists sent death threats to some raï artists. The danger forced Khaled to move to Paris in 1986 (see 1986 in music). In 1991 Khaled was managed by Marc Céda and Djilali Ourak. They asked Jess-Jemel Dif, a drummer with the already popular band led by Rachid Taha and called Carte de Séjour to find them a good record label to sign Khaled. Cheb Khaled was introduced to Universal Music with the song "Didi", which was an old Algerian song. Thus began the international success of Khaled. Sadly, in 1994 the fundamentalist threats materialized when another raï artist, Cheb Hasni, was murdered.[4]
[edit] International audience

In 1992 (see 1992 in music), after dropping "Cheb" from his name, he released his self titled album Khaled, which established his reputation as a superstar in France and among maghrebian emigrants around the world and sold over a million copies in European alone, an estimated 7 million worldwide, and he scored an even bigger hit with his love song Aicha in 1996. His audience has continued to expand throughout the 1990s, and he has collaborated with several hip hop artists. Khaled had achieved superstar status in France, his homeland Algeria and the Arab world. His signature song, Didi, became extremely popular in the Arabic-speaking countries and also in several other countries, including India and Pakistan. The song was used also used in a Bollywood film titled Shreeman Aashiq. Khaled and Don Was appeared on the "The Tonight Show" on February 4, 1993.[5] However, his popularity in the US, the UK and other countries has been limited to a small but devoted cult following. In the 1997 film The Fifth Element his song Alech Taadi was used in the car chase with Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich. His next album N'ssi N'ssi further strengthened his position. Film-maker Bertrand Blier used it as the soundtrack for his film "Un, deux, trois… Soleil".and sold 2 million copies. Three years would pass before the release of his next album "Sahra". During this time Khaled received the 1994 Cesar Award for the best film soundtrack, the 'Victoire de la Musique' for the 1995 artist of the year, and co-organised a huge night at the Zenith (the Paris concert hall) for peace and freedom of expression in Algeria .

In 1999, he was joined by Rachid Taha and Faudel in a concert at the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy for a concert known as 1,2,3 Soleils which was subsequently released as a live album and sold more than 5 million copies worldwide.Khaled became very popular in France, Canada, Belgium, Holland, Japan, England, the Middle East, India, Germany, Spain, Italy, Pakistan and Brazil.

On 12 July 2008, Khaled appeared at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall to take part in the Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival, part of the "Liverpool: European Capital of Culture 2008" programme. Khaled has sold over 46 million albums worldwide. His legacy includes 10 diamond, platinum, and gold albums, as well as the highest-selling Arab album in history.

In the summer 2009, Khaled played at the Jazz festival of Montreal.

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