A follow-up post on raï. The book above is available in its entirety at Google Books. It can also be bought at Amazon:
Raï music is often called the voice of the voiceless in Algeria, a society currently swept by tragic conflict. Raï is the voice of Algerian men, young men caught between generations and classes, in political strife, and in economic inequality.
The musicians do use Western instruments, but the music itself mixes Algerian popular songs and rhythms with the beat of American disco, Egyptian modalities, Moroccan wedding tunes, and the songs of Julio Iglesias. The study, in its innovative approach to music as a template of society, helps the reader understand the two major movements among today’s Algerian youth: one toward the mosque and the other toward the West.
More from the Wikipedia page on raï in the 1980s:
In the 1980s, raï began its period of greatest popularity. Previously the Algerian government had opposed raï because of its sexually and culturally risqué topics, such as alcohol and consumerism, two subjects that were contrary to the traditional Islamic culture. The fundamentalist leaning government also disliked the freedom afforded to women in raï, both in performing raï and in participating in the raï scene by dancing publicly, especially with men, at concerts or in clubs.
In 1985, Algerian Colonel Snoussi joined with French Minister of Culture, Jack Lang, to convince the Algerian state to accept raï. He succeeded in getting the government to return passports to raï musicians and allow raï to be recorded and performed in Algeria, with government sponsorship, claiming it as a part of Algerian cultural heritage. In 1986, the first state-sanctioned raï festival was held in Algeria, and a festival was also held in Bobigny, France.