To all but the hardcore followers of Algerian music, the names of the performers on this double-CD set will mean nothing. But to those who love (or want to discover) the roots of modern Algerian music, these 30 tracks, culled from the vaults of Algerian radio, are a treasure trove. From the sha'bi (or chaabi) style, the people's music with its accessible sound and sweeping lyrics, and frequent guitar accompaniment, or the roots of the better-known rai, the hawz, or the folk Kabyle style, which was revitalized after the Second World War (well-represented here by Slimane Azem, this covers a very wide and gratifying range). Probably the only familiar track here is the stirring "Ya Rayah," which was covered in the mid-'90s by Rachid Taha, although in its own way, the original rocks very hard. But never mind the unfamiliarity; this is all remarkable stuff indeed, performed with a rare fire and grace.
The story of Algeria's past, present and future - from independence to the Arab Spring and beyond. Algeria was under French colonial rule for 132 years. From tears of joy at independence in 1962 to the tragic civil war of the 1990s and the anger that culminated in the Arab Spring, this series provides a unique insight into a country notoriously inaccessible to both journalists and filmmakers. Interviews with key players like Ben Bella, Ait Ahmed and President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, cover 50 years of tragic and powerful history from the Evian Accords of 1962 to the Arab Spring of 2011. This is the story of Algeria's past, present and future.