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Index / Art and Culture /
Cheikha Rimitti
Real name: Saadia al-Ghizania



Cheikha Rimitti.
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Cheikha Rimitti.

Cheikha Rimitti. In concert in her later years.
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In concert in her later years.

Cheikha Rimitti. Singles cover from the 1950's.
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Singles cover from the 1950's.

Music example
Nouar (2000)
Notable studio albums
Sidi Mansour 1994
Ghir al Baroud 1996
Cheika 1996
Trab Music 2000
Nouar 2000
L'etoile du Rai 2001
Salam Maghreb 2001
N'ta Goudami 2006

(1923-2006) Algerian singer and songwriter, belonging to the Raļ tradition.
Cheikha Rimitti was through most of her life a rebel, using her position to promote rights to Algeria's Muslim female population. Eventually, she changed her ways, and returned to the ideas of Islam on her older days.
Cheikha Rimitti, as known for her productions late in life, had a style of a deep voice and songs of little variation, but with suggestive music. Both using modern, Western instruments and traditional Algerian ones, like bendire, tar, gasbā and gallal. Throughout her more than 50 years as a recording artist, she has published around 400 cassettes, 300 singles and a handful of CD's. She has written 200 songs, several recorded with other artists.
She had a second career starting in the 1990's, when her music was rediscovered by a new generation.
Cheikha Rimitti is one of the central figures of the development of Raļ music, being considered the artistic mother of young Raļ performers from the 1980's. Both Khaled and Rachid Taha has recorded tributes to her.
She had 4 children, all having returned to Algeria.

Biography
1923 May 8: Born in the village Tessala, named Saadia.
1920's: Saadia is orphaned, and has a hard childhood, never attending school.
1938: Joins a travelling music group, known as the Hamdachis, with whom she sings and dances.
1943: Moves to Relizane, where she writes songs and performs. She soon earns much fame from singing about tabooed subjects, like sex and alcohol.
1940's: Saadia's fame grows quickly across Algeria, she sings several times on the radio. She would soon take the artist name Cheikha Rimitti.
1952: Publishes her first record, which included the song Er-Raļ er-Raļ.
1954: Becomes famous and infamous when releasing Charrak Gatta, challenging the the taboo of virginity for unmarried women.
1962: Algeria's Muslim population gets independence, and as part of the ethnic cleansing of Europeans, Cheikha Rimitti's music is also outlawed, accused of being influenced by French culture.
1960's: Moves to France.
1971: Injured in a car crash, while touring Algeria. She spends 3 weeks in coma.
1975: Performs hajj, and changes her lifestyle to a modest, Muslim-conservative one, quitting smoking and alcohol.
1980's: Moves to Paris.
2006 May 15: Dies in Paris, France, from a heart attack.




By Tore Kjeilen