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Spotlight on Culture

People that call this area Home

African Countries

Immigrants from other areas of the world


People's Democratic Republic of Algeria

Also known as: Al-Jumhūriyyah al-Jazāʾiriyyah al-Dīmuqrāṭiyyah al-Shaʿbiyyah

Artistic Expressions


For many centuries, Algerian music was dominated by styles inherited from Al-Andalus, eventually producing their own North African twist which resulted on the development of what is called Nuubaat (singular nuuba). Later, this also included Rabaab and Hawzii. Nuubaat music is a combination of already existing music that had a strong Ottoman influence.

Their music is very diverse, and there's many genres: popular music (Chaabi), many types of Andalusian classical music such as Sana'a, Gharnati and Ma'luf, as well as classical Arabic, Bedouin, Berber music (Staifi, Raï, Kabyle, Shawi, Tuareg, Gnawa, just to mention a few)

Andalusian music is considered the most sophisticated by musical scholars, and is very well developed. There are three schools dedicated to teaching musicians, particularly in the Maghreb region. The performers usually invited to festivals across the Maghreb are frequently of Algerian origin because of the quality of their craft. Famous performers in this genre include Beihdja Rahal, Brahim Hadj Kacem, Nouri Koufi and Leila Borsali.

Haouzi music is another style that took the melodies of Andalusian music and modernized them. Haouzi music is often played at celebrations, such as weddings and other ceremonies.

Raï is used to express love and romance using a mix of rythms that would fall between Western music and Bedouin music.

Khaled (better known as Cheb Khaled), is considered as the King of Rai music and achieved international fame. This music is very popular in Algeria, Morocco, France, Tunisia, Turkey, Libya, and Egypt.

Staifi is another genre of music that is popular. It began in Eu-eulma City, and is also played at weddings and other celebrations, because they use lyrics that symbolize purity and love.

Chaabi is a style of urban music, also derived from the same Andalusian roots. The best known performer is El Hajj Muhammad El Anka, considered to be a Grand Master of Andalusian classical music.

Some other styles of folk music include hofii, a form of female vocal music, and zindalii, originated in Constantine.

Ma'luf is a genre of Andalusian classical music also from Constantine, which has survived because of the efforts of the Tunisian government and a few private individuals. It is still performed in public, but recordings are relatively rare.

For more information on their music and musicians, visit this Wiki page, and you can also find more info here and here.

Learn to dance to Raï with an Algerian artist

This following video presents the same artist performing with other musicians, for a project based in NYC

Stay tuned for more information on Algeria's culinary traditions, for our last post on this wonderful culture. Our area is blessed to be called home by many people of many cultures, and they deserve to be acknowledged.


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