Moroccan Beats on French Streets

Essay by joseph5498University, Bachelor'sB, May 2014

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Ables 1 For my case study, I will identify, explain, and discourse the cultural impact of

Moroccan music genre called raï, on the cultural identity of France. I will also explore

the fear that France is losing their distinctive cultural identity and illuminate the reader of

any criminal, religious, educational, or even political crime due to the spread of said

music. With the aid of various artists' (Cheb Hasni, Khaled) songs, I hope to utilize and

analyze their lyrics as another method to gain insight into their cognitive thought and

behavior to determine if they sing/rap about the struggles of minorities whilst trying to

assimilate to a new life in France. Apart from the perspective and opinions of the

musicians, I will also explore the thoughts and feelings of French natives toward the flux

of foreigners into their country who bring with them a different style of contemporary

Moroccan and Arabian music. With a greater deluge of Northern African musical artists

moving to France, I hope to discourse the change, whether that change be positive or

negative, that they bring with them.

Imagine taking a stroll down the Champs-Élysées; the aroma of chocolate

croissants filter through the air from local street vendors, the sight of l'Arc de Triomphe

in the background, and the sound of something unfamiliar and contemporary yet tribal,

resonating in your ear canal. You look around to locate the source of the foreign melody

to find dark-skinned performers strumming their long-necked stringed instruments,

beating their rudimentary drums in conjunction with sophisticated synthesizers and

sequencers while a man transitions between singing in French and Arabic. This exotic

genre of music is called "raï."

According to cultural anthropologists Joan Gross, David McMurray, and Ted

Swedenburg, raï is a form of folk music that originated in Algeria mixed with Spanish,