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Raï (/raɪ/, /raɪ.i/; Arabic: راي), sometimes written rai, is a form of Algerian folk music that dates back to the 1920s. Singers of Raï are called Cheb (Arabic: شاب) (or Shabab, i.e. young) as opposed to sheikh (Arabic: شيخ) (shaykh, i.e. old), the name given to Chaabi singers. The tradition arose in the city of Oran, primarily among the poor. Traditionally sung by men, by the end of the 20th century, female singers had become common. The lyrics of Raï have concerned social issues such as disease and the policing of European colonies that affected native populations.


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