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Cheikha Rimitti: 83 Years of Life...
12:18:28 PM Wednesday May 17, 2006

One of the most influential and inspirational singers of all North Africa, this woman truly stands out as the Queen of Rai . After 83 full years of life, she has left behind a rich legacy of great music, traditional and modern styles fused together to convey heartfelt emotional experiences that every north african can relate to, and that every contemporary rai singer has learned from tremendously. When I hear her sing, I am hearing my grandmother's generation, my great-aunts and all the women who lived through those turbulent times. Her early life as a poor orphan was hard to say the least, and she suffered great pains, like so many who struggled through those darker years, but that is what gave her the strength she was so known for, and that is the source of the passion that drives her music.

In her own words: "I have always sung the ordinary problems of life, social problems, yes, rebellion. The problems I saw were common problems, ever since the age of fifteen or sixteen. I still haven't got it all out...."

Cheikha Rimitti has left us with 83 years of life to reflect upon... Where would Rai be without her?


Cheikha Rimitti passed away on Monday, the 15th of March, 2006, Allah yrhamha. Thanks to Adnane for posting his comments. There was a cute epitaph earlier this week on bledconnexion not sure if it's still posted there.

The content of this page —graphics, text and other elements—is © Copyright 2007 prospective author, and Raioo, Inc., only when stated otherwise, and may not be reprinted or retransmitted in whole or in part without the expressed written consent of the publisher.

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3:09 pm    October 6, 2007

5:49 pm    February 21, 2007

Kathleen Woolrich message

6:03 pm    October 14, 2006

4:54 am    September 24, 2006

8:15 am    September 21, 2006
an outstanding piece by Sheikha Remitti was "Rassoul illah" a great tribute to the prophet (PBUH). Allah yarhmiha.

5:38 pm    May 26, 2006

wedadeya message
O i didnt know! allah yer7amha.. I like her muSic it was differnt and unique

10:41 pm    May 18, 2006

Adnane Ben. message
Here's an article from world music central

Algeria - Renowned Algerian singer Cheikha Rimitti died today in Paris of a heart attack. She was 83.

Rimitti was one of the most influential singers in the development of the popular Algerian music style known as Rai.

She was born in 1923 near Sidi Bel-Abb?s, in French-controlled Algeria. She became an orphan at a young age and had a hard and dissolute life.

When she was twenty years old, she became close to a troop of musicians, the Hamdachis, with whom she shared a troubadour's life, singing in many cabarets and often dancing until her feet could not bear her anymore. In those times, dreadful epidemics spread through the country and put the emphasis on the daily sordid difficulties.

Rimitti drew her inspiration from those desolation scenes and improvised her first verses : her repertoire is mainly based on that which has been lived. "It's misfortune that has educated me, words sing silent in my head until I sing them loud, no need to take neither a pencil nor a notebook."

From those days, she prefered to keep memories of celebrations: "I celebrated the Saints in Relizane, Oran and Algiers? Celebrations longed a week and people came from all over the country. We invited the greatest singers, like Umm Kulthum and Cheikha Fadela The Great? Not only was I singing, but I also was riding horses during the fantasia, with a rifle in each hand, and I was shooting to the sky. Soldiers clapped their hands and the prefect himself congratulated me a few times?"

Her first recording was made in 1952, when Pathe Marconi released a single including the famous "Er-Ra? Er-Ra?", but it was in 1954 that Rimitti became an absolute reference with her song "Charrak Gatt?" : her contemporaries heard in this song an attack against the taboo of virginity ("he crushes, whips and beats me [?] I say that I'm going away but I still spend the night / pitiful me, I've taken bad habits?").

Rimitti was ahead of her times, singing in the 1940's about how hard it was to be a woman and introducing the notion of a sexual pleasure. But her themes went far beyond that: she explored all forms of love, celebrated friendship, tried to explain what it was to become an alcoholic, regretted the obligation to migrate and scolded the moralists. She, who dared singing an ode to the Emir Abdelkader in the Jewish coffee shops, in the middle of the Liberation War, was going to suffer from great accusations, flying from the censors of the National Liberation Front.

Her poetry forced her out of the country in the 1960's. Since those times, she has written more than 200 songs, constituting a real "sing tank" for her successors, including Cheb Khaled whom has covered "The Camel", for instance.

She was revered by most Rai musicians. Rachid Taha dedicated her a song, "Rimitti". Re-discovered a few years ago by the new generation, Rimitti's songs connected to the reality of 1990's bloody Algeria, the decade of all dangers (especially for women).

She was awarded the Great Prize of Disc of the Charles Cros Academy, in 2000. But she claimed no title but the one of "Cheikha" (the Senior).

She collaborated with Robert Fripp and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the Sidi Mansour album in 1994, and that inaugurated a new electric form of Rai, with a climax in the 1980's.

In 2000 she released Nouar. Her most recent recording was N'Ta Goudami (Because Music, 2006).


10:34 pm    May 18, 2006

Adnane Ben. message
Really? I didn't hear about it.. when was that? She was an outstanding Algerian artist who performed her art with natural ability and ease, yet produced the stepstones for future artists to come. Allay Yra7mek Rimitti, wyaghferlek, weywassa3 3lik.

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