Chaoui is a genre of Berber music that originated in the Aurès region of Algeria. It is a mixture of Saharan and Atlas mountain music marked with dancing rhythms and is part of the oral living tradition of the Aurès region. The first recordings on magnetic tape date back to the 1930s when Aissa Jermouni’s music was introduced and published internationally. Over the years, Chaoui has given birth to various sub-genres. The genre was popularized in the 1930s and 1940s, and still generates a strong following of fans across the country and especially in the Aurès region in the 2000s. In its most frequent instrumental configuration, a chaoui music group includes a zorna, a gasba flute, a bendir and one or more singers.
Originally, Chaoui musicians were shepherds who lived in the Aurès mountains, and they sang their own localized poetry of personal and regional topics. But also, joyful themes such as local or religious festivals or in the context of Chaoui weddings.
Hocine Chaoui is one of the genre’s most famous and respected musicians and poets. Hocine modernized his sound with drum machines, incorporating intense and modern production techniques with phased gesba flute, reverbed out vocals, taking the genre to its logical new phase. This LP is a reissue of one of the most “in demand” of the genre’s cassettes originally released by Oriental Music Production, a cassette label dedicated to the some of the best regional releases during the heyday of the 80’s and 90’s golden era of rai and local Algerian music cassettes. These releases were only ever released on cassette and now command a premium on the collector’s market.