The Odyssey




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Hear Khaled perform
Ki Kounti

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Khaled has become one of the most popular Arab singers of this century. The extent of his stardom, some would argue, has surpassed that of the great Egyptian diva, Oum Kalthoum (1904-1975). Khaled Hadj Brahim was born in the district of Sidi-El-Houari, an ancient and historical area in the Algerian city of Oran. In the book, Derriere le Sourir - Behind the Smile, by Michael Lafon, Khaled reminisces about his turbulent youth, musing that "fortunately there was music. I loved music without knowing I wanted to be a musician. Music has always been my lucky star."

Khaled's first band, The Five Stars, had a repertoire consisting of cover versions of influential Moroccan groups, Nass El Ghiwane and Jil Jilala. In 1974 he went solo and cut his first single, "The Lycee Road." His popularity continued to grow and in 1992 he struck gold with his first international hit, the funky song "Didi." Khaled's music knows no boundaries, and he is popular in India and Indonesia as well as in Europe and the Middle East.

Related Dispatch
Algeria Map
Why didn't the Team go through Algeria?
Read it here!

Khaled topped the French charts for several months with his exquisite "Aicha," a French-language ballad that was written for him by rocker, Jean-Jacques Goldman. In 1997, "Aicha" was heard throughout the four corners of the planet and has led to numerous cover versions in a variety of styles and languages.

The song "Ki Kounti" is a duet with Saul Hernandez and serves up a melange of Andalusian, Latin and Arab flavors with an underlying reggae beat. It is a lament of what might have been if only you achieved more instead of shedding tears and regrets about your destiny.

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This information and world music sample are compliments of Putumayo World Music. Putumayo’s mission is to introduce people to other cultures through music, and towards this end they have released dozens of CDs and cassettes featuring some of the best music from around the world.

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