Radiodiffusion Internasionaal Annexe

Bekakchi Khier
June 20, 2021, 5:37 am
Filed under: Algeria

Ouine M’Hamelni Ya Lasmar

The person who sold this record to me said it was Raï. It’s from Algeria and sounds like Raï, right? But no. It’s Staifi.

Raï music started in western Algeria – most notably in Oran, as well as surrounding cities of Sidi Bel Abbès and Aïn Temouchent. Staifi music originated from eastern Algeria – primarily Sétif and other cities in the region like Annaba, Guelma and Tebessa.

Bekakchi Khier – also seen as Bekakchi El Khier – is from Sétif. He is apparently still active. Here is a performance from Algerian television from November 2020. Also, someone has uploaded a few of his more recent releases to SoundCloud.

Many thanks to Loïc Guillaume of Phono Mundial and “the Algerian guys working on the bathroom of the flat” for the help with this post.

Catalog number HL 46 on EtHerLux of Setif, Algeria. No release date listed.

March 22, 2012, 3:47 am
Filed under: Algeria

Dag Dagui

Mohamed Mazouni was born in Aït Lahcène in the Kabylie region of Algeria in 1949 – the same village and year as Idir. His name ‘Mazouni’ in the Kabylie dialect means ‘He will live’.

Mazouni is considered one of the most popular singers of the 1960s and 1970s. He is well known to Algerians living abroad due to his songs about immigration, homesickness, love and country. His hit “Adieu la France, Bonjour l’Algérie” was very successful since it celebrates the independence of Algeria from France. Among his other famous songs are “Allo Allo”, “Azizi”, “Mini Jupe” and “Halte à la Vitesse”.

Mazouni continues to record and perform to this day, and is an important figure in the world of Algerian Kabylie music. His most recent album – as of this posting – was “Mazouni 2007”, which was released in 2007.

You can find a few more tracks by Mazouni over at Phocéephone.

Catalog number JAM 21 on Disques Z of Paris, France. No release date listed.

El Abranis
January 1, 2011, 7:47 pm
Filed under: Algeria


Ayetheri-A L’Afjare

Recently, I was asked: With all of the compilations and blogs out there, do you think that you will run out of music to find? The short answer is ‘Yes’. As it stands now, it is getting more and more difficult. There are only a finite number of records from that time period that were pressed. But what that number is, nobody really knows.

A good example is the Bollywood Steel records. When I put together the compilation for Sublime Frequencies, I thought I had found pretty much all there was to find. I knew that I was missing a record or two, but I think at the time I had maybe 25-30 records. Since then I’ve found at least 60 more – and counting. I bought three yesterday!

Another thing to consider, is that as collectors – I mean archivists – accumulate these records, they hear stuff outside of their original focus. In the process of searching for Thai Beat records, people have stumbled onto Shadow Music, Molam, Luk Thung and the many other wonderful mutations from Thailand. So the number of records out there is not exactly static.

But as more and more folks get clued into these recordings, there are now more people hunting down the original vinyl. And it has gotten quite competitive. When I started this site, there were only a dozen or two compilations and maybe a handful of websites. Now? I cannot even keep track of what’s become available.

The good news is that we are probably going to get to hear those records… Eventually.

Both of these songs were featured on the first volume of the Waking Up Scheherazade compilations. For further information on Les Abranis, as they were to be known after this single – which was their first, please check out the previous post.

Catalog number 11102 on Oasis Disques of Paris, France, released 1973.

Mallek Mohamed
January 3, 2010, 4:43 am
Filed under: Algeria

Rohi Ya Hafida

Every now and then, I stumble upon a record that’s a complete mystery. Anyone out there ever heard Arabic Zouk before? I know I sure have not.

The single was released on a French label called Antilles Musique Diffusion. The liner notes – which according to the Google translator read “Mr. Mallek young composer, still unknown to you, has 45 cm in this attractive entry you” – were written by Tinou Lavital. But Lavital was a well known manager, musician and producer from Guadeloupe… I am assuming that Mallek and Lavital must have crossed paths in France, since Algeria had been and Guadeloupe still is part of the French colonial empire. But beyond that, I got nothing.

If you have any further information on the band, please contact me or leave a comment.

Note: The song title Rohi Ya Hafida is listed as Rouhi Rouhi Ya Hafida on the label of the actual record.

Thanks to Anis Bousbia for helping me at least figure out where Mallek Mohamed was from…

Catalog number AMD 008 on Antilles Musique Diffusion of France. No other information available.

January 11, 2009, 8:19 am
Filed under: Algeria

Tfuk Tufra

The Kabyle group Agraw consisted of two Algerians: Boudjema Semaouni and Hassen Zermani.

Boudjema (also spelled Boudjemâa) was born in Semaoun, Algeria in 1952. He began his career as a singer for Radio Berber Channel 2 and released a single for the Vogue label before moving to Paris in 1980.

Hassen Zermani, is better known as Takfarinas. He was born in Tixeraine in 1958. Takfarinas took his name from the Ancient warrior of North Africa – Tacfarinas (which is how his name is spelled on this record) – who fought against the presence of the Romans in Algeria. He formed first band was band in Algiers in 1976, and three years later moved to Paris to record a solo album titled “Yebwa Reman”. That same year, he met Boudjema Semaouni and the group Agraw was formed.

The band only released two albums before going their separate ways in 1984. Both records were produced by Idir, who also played flute on their recordings, and released them on his Azwaw label.

Boudjema Semaouni kept the name of the band, and became known as Boudjema Agraw. He continued recording, replacing Takfarinas with Karim Tizouiar – who went solo soon after. Boudjema currently lives in El Kseur, Algeria.

Takfarinas had a successful career in the Eighties. He became most recognized for playing the ‘takfa’, which is based on a traditional lute-like instrument which he modified by adding a second neck. He still lives in France, where he records and even has his own website.

Thanks to Anis Bousbia and Hicham Chadly for their help.

Catalog number AZW200 on Azwaw Records of Paris, France. No release date listed.

Rachid et Fethi
June 24, 2008, 7:20 pm
Filed under: Algeria

Habit-En Ïch

Brothers Rachid and Fethi Baba Ahmed were from the Northwestern town of Tlemcen in Algeria.

They formed their first band in the 1960’s, which was called The Vultures. Althought I have been unable to find any recordings by the band, they were supposed more Western styled rock ‘n’ roll.

After The Vultures, they released a few records as Rachid et Fethi (here’s one other that I know of), and made a number of appearances performing on Algerian television in the 1970’s.

Since that time, Rachid and Fethi became the most well known Raï producers in Algeria. They openned one of the first 24 track studios in the country, which is in the town of Oran. They were the first to introduce the synthesizer and drum machine into Raï in 1982, which would galvanize that music’s signature sound.

Sadly, Rachid Baba Ahmed was killed on 15 February 1995 in his car with shots from a submachine gun in Oran.

Thanks to Anis Bousbia for his help.

Catalog number 28846 Editions Rally of Tlemcen, Algeria. No release date given.

Les Abranis
June 20, 2008, 1:42 pm
Filed under: Algeria

Chenar le Blues

Les Abranis (a.k.a. El Abranis) was founded in Algeria by Karim Abranis in 1967.

Karim, as well as his bandmates Shamy Elbaz, Chemini Abdelkader, Arezki Barroudi and Hachemi Bellali were of the Amazigh ethnic group of Northwest Africa and they sang in the Tamazight language.

In 1973, Abranis went to Algiers to take part in the first “National Festival of the Song” and won the grand price for that year. Soon after, they had an appearance on Algerian television, and were popular across Algerian. They even porduced two Scopitone music videos for both songs from their first single.

Karim Abranis still performs in and around Northern Africa and Europe. He even has a website, with more information and pictures:

Thank you to Anis Bousbia for the additional information.

Catalog number BEP 115 on Bordj el Fren of France. There is no release date given, but judging from the information on the Abranis website, this was released between 1973 and 1978.