Rai Music Basics: Rai music is a popular genre of world music from the Northern African country of Algeria. Rai is pronounced "rye" or "rah-AY" and translates as "opinion". Rai music began in the early 1900s as a combination of popular music and traditional Bedouin desert music.
Rai in the 1980s: Rai transformed throughout the 1900s but really came into its own in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when artists such as Ahmad Baba Rachid blended traditional Rai with modern pop sounds.
What Does Rai Sound Like?: To the unsuspecting listener, much Rai music would sound pretty much like pop music, sung in Arabic, with a clear but not overwhelming World Beat influence. However, the tonal and instrumental influences of traditional Bedouin music, not to mention cultural and religious influences, are really a keystone of the genre.