Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Gadjo’s Manele Journey #1

I want to take you on a journey. (I want to go on it myself, see, and taking you with me seems as good an excuse as any...) The current, popular, Romanian gypsy music is known as “Manele”, and is nearly always heartily derided by anybody with whom you might conceivably want to spend any length of time, as in e.g. “Ach, the beach was covered in beer cans and used condoms and there was manele playing all the time!!” But I maintain that despite everything it's not entirely without merit, and that it takes its inspiration from some pretty worthwhile sources. By looking at these other genres of music I shall lead us at last to the Xanadu that is Manele, and hopefully play some music of interest to you on the way.

Here’s the first: Algerian raï music. With his fine, young voice, Cheb Mami was called The Prince of Raï. Unfortunately he’s gone considerably to bad, is currently serving a 5-year prison sentence in France and has worked with Sting. But his early tracks, like Lella rani ensaaf el mektoub, live on. But if Mami was the prince, Khalid (formally Cheb Khalid*) is certainly the King: a raï superstar - and exile, due to the music’s discussion of things that are not entirely endorsed by Islam. Here he is, as always looking very cheerful and slightly like one of The Scousers after a long and very satisfactory holiday in Benidorm**:

* I believe “Cheb” simply means “young man”

** I mean no insult to Benidorm or to Scousers, or to Khalid, or indeed to anybody with naturally curly hair and dark skin... quite the opposite.... for heaven’s sake this is just a blog.


Francis Sedgemore said...

"Unfortunately he’s gone considerably to bad, is currently serving a 5-year prison sentence in France and has worked with Sting."

Are these clauses in the correct order?

Gaw said...

Strange but enjoyable. He also looks a bit like a young Tom Jones, without the hips - but then I think the Welsh were originally from North Africa.

Two queries: Why is he dressed like a trainee accountant? Why are there scenes from something like Lawrence of Arabia playing?

Francis: I take it they're listed in ascending badness. Sting really is a total c**t.

Francis Sedgemore said...

That goes without saying, Gareth, but I was wondering about logical progression.

Scarlet Blue said...

I thought he looked like Saddam Hussein.
My favourite Sting moment.
Apologies, Gadj, if you can't view this.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Francis, regarding logical progression, I think the order I've given is correct: working with Sting is unfortunately not a criminal offence in France, but might be something resorted to by somebody whose self-espect had been compromised by 5 years of sharing a cell with "Pierre Le Grand".

Gaw, ah yes, he is a bit Tom Jonesy - but didn't the Welsh come from the centre of the earth?? He's usually a fairly dapper character; and regarding the incoherent Lawrence of Arabia scenes, mabe the video was directed by Ed Wood!

Scarlet, ooerr, I actually find him not entirely dislikeable in this interview, even though he's decided to lose the Geordie accent and look like David Bellamy.

Gorilla Bananas said...

What would Romanians think if Cheb put a pair of cymbals on the inside of each knee and knocked them together while he was singing?

Nikos said...

Maybe we should carry on the welding discussion thread?

worm said...

seriously, if they processed the beats a bit, turned up the bass, that would sound pretty damn good! and i'm powerless to resist a really luxuriant moustache

zmkc said...

Please, please can we not go via Serbian turbo-folk

Gadjo Dilo said...

Bananas, Romanians probably wouldn't think anything much, it's not a country where analytical thought is king.

Nikos, you'd still rather talk about welding??? (And where is that Alice anyway...)

Worm, ah yes, I forget that many people do like a meatier bass-line; I'll have a word with him and see what we can do about it.

zmkc, errrrrrr, that's one genre which I was going to have to include :-( Can you at least recommend an example of it that I can play without offending you too much?

Alice Scradcza said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
zmkc said...

Don't worry - I'll just go away and play a nice Muzsikas CD while you're doing the Serb thing.

Alice Scradcza said...

This is a nice clip of an Algerian welding.

Pat said...

It went a bit crazy but I like the elements of Greek music which always make me nostalgic.

Susan said...

Omg! I love Khaled. I used to play his music all the time in my boutique in the late 1990s.

Susan said...

PS Is he really in prison? I last saw him performing at the Barbican - not that long ago!

Nikos said...

Excellent film clip Alice - that has certainly made my day.

Did I hear mention of Greek music?

Anonymous said...

Cheb Mami " la plus grosse erreur de ma vie, c’est d’avoir suivi le mauvais conseil de mon manager juif " Dit-il !???

Depuis le 3 juillet 2009 et pour 5 ans ,Le prince du raï , se fait railler ! La raillerie est un air de gaieté qui remplit l'imagination , j'espère que sous les douches de "la Santé" ( prison de la ...la plus " VIP " des maisons d'arrêt de France ...) il ne laisse échapper sa savonnette , ce qui aurait pour conséquence d'éclaircir sa voix !!

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

Ah I'd go on a musical journey with you anytime Gadj, it's always a magic carpet ride. I used to have an album he did with Algerian jazzman Safy Boutella. I think Khaled opened a restaurant in Hartlepool - check out Krimo's web page! (And his photo if you can find it - could be Khaled now).

I won't translate Crabbers' remarks about what Cheb Mami might be getting up to in prison, I will just say that a bar of soap features in it and the possibility of his vocal range becoming higher.

No Good Boyo said...

I knew Turbo would come up! More Ceca please, if that were possible.

As for the "Welsh are Berbers" theory, I've always liked it. I might even post something on its distinguished and thoroughly spurious history.

And yes, we taught Tolkien everything that he knew and then forgot before writing his Rings Cycle.

Anonymous said...

Yes ! Daphné , un cadre idyllique qui devrait compenser les éventuels soucis liés à la promiscuité des prisons françaises !

An idyllic frame which should compensate for the possible worries linked to the promiscuity of the French prisons!

Where ,Cheb Mami had to cross Samy Naceri (taxi of Luke Besson), the other small prince who derails!

Gadjo Dilo said...

zmkc, Muzsikas, ah, now we're talking! I see I'm going to have to do a series of posts on quality popular music as well :-)

Alice, sugar, that really is a top-drawer piece of Algerian welding - only you could have made that connection!

Pat, it did go a bit crazy, but I was hoping the clip was short and punchy enough to appeal to a wide audience. I see I'm going to have to post some Greek rebetica as well.

Susan, hurrah! I imagine it would have been very suitable and made a good ambience in your shop.

Nikos, it's coming, mate, it's coming: expect some vintage Tsitsanis and Sotiria Bellou at her butch, craggy-eyebrowed best.

Crabbers, merci beaucoup. Is he excusing himself here?? I thought he was in for drugs and attempting an illegal abortion. Please tell us the true story.

Daph, I visited Krimo's website but could find no reference to either Khaled or Hartlepool, just some strange things about cookery. Please get M. Crabbers to tell us the real story.

Boyo, by way of balance, like, I couldn't post anything by Arkan's missus without also including Mrs Ante Gotovina singing something - and I'm afraid her rendition of The Stranglers' "No More Heroes" really doesn't cut it. I'm glad to hear that we have a Welsh thread here: please elaborate.

Crabbers, I've read quite a lot of Genet in my time and frankly nothing that happens in French prisons surprises me anymore. But, I reiterate, please tell us the full inside story on Mami's new love life!

Lulu LaBonne said...

I'm a big Khaled fan and had the good fortune to see him perform last year. I didn't know about Mami being in prison though, Crabbers tell us more ...

Anonymous said...

Le Noir Désir de Mohamed Khelifati dit "Cheb Mami" (ne pas confondre avec Bertrand Cantat et l'affaire Marie Trintignant), qui un jour décide de chanter " El Marsam ", chanson des années 20 écrite par le barbier poète Cheikh M'hamed dit " le rouge " et gagne l'amour du public par ses paroles qui gagnent le ciel comme un vol de papillon : " Ô sanctuaire de nos rendez-vous Veux-tu bien me relater ce qui s'est passé ici Ici où ma gazelle et moi avons connu des instants merveilleux Je te tiens un langage clair et gracieux Mais tu restes sourd et muet et ne me réponds pas Hélas..."

Puis il joue le rôle de l'élève de Karim Bouderba dans, un film 100% Arabica de Mahmoud Zemmouri ,ensuite des duos avec Sting pour "Desert Rose" , Zucchero pour "Cosi Celest", Susheela Raman, Corneille, Diam's pour "Non ce sera non". Jusque-là ,tout allait bien il pouvait boire le calice jusqu'à la lie !! Bref ! L'espoir de la jeunesse arabe !

Mais le voilà condamné pour des violences infligées à son ex-compagne ( Une Française prénommée Camille , photographe de presse )!!!!! Puis emprisonné ,la victime avait été séquestrée dans la villa du chanteur à Alger ,où elle avait subi toute une nuit des brutalités de Kader Lallali et deux "avorteuses" non identifiées (tentative d'avortement forcé ,extraire manu militari le fœtus qu’elle porte) à l'instigation de Cheb Mami ! Il a reconnu avoir été informé des faits et a parlé de "faute" en exprimant des regrets..."J'ai fait une faute, c'est grave"!

(Michel Lecorre (Maurice Lévy l’ex-manager), qualifié d'"organisateur et instigateur" des actes de violences par le tribunal, a écopé pour sa part de 4 ans de prison...)

Son ex-compagne a accouché d’une fillette !!!

The black Désir de Mohamed Khelifati said "Cheb Mami" (do not merge Mary Trintignant with Bertrand Cantat and affair), who one day decides to sing "El Marsam", song of the twenties written by the barber poet Sheikh to Me hamed says " the red " and earns the love of the public by its words which earn the sky as the flight of butterfly: "Ô sanctuary of our appointments You Want to relate to me what took place here Here where my gazelle and I knew marvellous instants I give you a clear and gracious But hushed up speech remain deaf and dumb and do not answer me Alas..."

Then he plays duets the role of the pupil of Karim Bouderba in, a film 100 % Arabica de Mahmoud Zemmouri, then with Sting for "Desert Rose", Zucchero for "Cosi Celest", Susheela Raman, Crow, Diam' s for "not it will be not". Until then, everything went well he could drink the chalice up to the dregs!! In short! The hope of Arab youth!

But here is condemned for acts of violence inflicted for his ex-companion (A called Frenchwoman Camille, photographer of press)!!!!! Then arrested, the victim had been sequestrated in the villa of the singer in Algiers, where she had suffered the whole night of the brutality of Kader Lallali and two not identified "abortionists" (try of forced abortion, to extract manu militari the foetus which she carries) at the instigation of Cheb Mami! He admitted having been informed about facts and spoke about "error" by expressing regrets... "I made an error, it's serious"!

(Michel Lecorre (Maurice Lévy the ex-manager), qualified as '"organizer and instigator" of acts of acts of violence by the court, took the rap from his part of 4 years of prison...)

Her ex-companion gave birth to a little girl!!!

Gadjo Dilo said...

Lulu, :-) I also once saw Khalid live, in Copenhagen in late 1990s - great concert!

Crabbers, oh lordy. Thanks for the details. I wonder if Mami's cell-mate is both a family man and seriously violent. One has to hope and pray for the little girl.

Camilla Jessop said...

Maurice Levy was Innes Ireland's F1 mechanic.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Camilla, hmm, I don't reckon that excuses him :-( He sounds like an arsehole.