CHEB I SABBAH (ALGERIA)
Algerian-born DJ Cheb I Sabbah mixes up heady Arabic and Indian sounds into a sitar, tabla and oud tinged groove that is proving popular across Europe and the USA. Sabbah avoids adding the hi-energy house music beats that so many contemporary DJs believe are necessary to make non-Western music forms palatable. Instead, he concentrates on creating a 'trance' groove that is in keeping with much of the music's original spiritual creation. Although Sabbah designs his music for Western dancers his sonic creations are supposed to evoke in the listeners a sense of oneness with the universe rather than simply the soundtrack to designer clubs and expensive restaurants.
Sabbah's sounds make for perfect chill-out music while also carrying a musicality that extends beyond the ambient clichés of the Buddha Bar world music lite remix compilations. Although he has only recently become known on the world music scene, Sabbah is in his fifties and claims to have begun DJing in Paris in the 1960s. By the late 1980s he had become a fixture on the San Francisco club scene where he created a series of world-music concerts called '1002 Nights' and, in 1994, produced The Majoon Traveler, in which he mixed the music of Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman with the Gnawa and Jilala music of North Africa.
Sabbah's family moved to France from Algeria in the early-1960s when the Algerian struggle for independence was underway. As Berbers of Jewish descent in a predominantly Muslim population, they had been issued French passports by the French colonial government and Sabbah draws on his culturally rich background to create music that is Oriental with Occidental flavours. Or, perhaps, the other way around.
Sabbah came to wider prominence with his recent CDs Shri Durga and Maha Maya on the Six Degrees label. Maha Maya is a remixed version of Shri Durga - the remixes were created by Sabbah and leading players in London 's Asian Underground scene (Trans-Global Underground, FunDaMental, etc.) The musicians he has assembled for his recent recordings include violinist K.Shivakumar and his niece, singer Radhika Rajiv. There's vedic chanting from P.T.Vijayaraghavan and zither playing by Pandit Ulhas Bapat ("Tum Bim Shyam"). Fusion maestro Bill Laswell plays bass. And ruling over it all is DJ Cheb I Sabbah, master mixer of cosmic Arabic-Indian sounds.
Six Degrees Records profile
BBC Music interview
April, Blue Mountains, Australia
La Kahena is a breath taking album. The strong emotive voices of the Maghreb women in conjunction with their native music and the masterful beats of Cheb i Sabbah create a wonderful soundscape that no dancer could sit still to. Chebiji deserves an award for his excellent efforts.
Chou Chou, Paris, France
Original, inventive, timeless, interpretative, and simply divine. How can you describe his homage to long forgotten sounds of the past with a modern melange of fresh new beats and rhythms? They say truth is pure. So is his music. He deserves the award for his contribution, not just albums.
Terrance San Francisco
We have been blessed with Cheb here in the bay area live every week and may the world know how great his beats are. Bring it on!
Leela Mayi Ma ~~San Fransisco Bay
Divinly spinning sweetly mingling tribal sound vibrations new wave of the electronic world capturing the essence of cultural shakti. Merging tradition with innovation. Nataraja dances when Cheb i Sabbah's tables spin Bom Bom Bolanatha Sri Mahadeva Shiv Om Shiv OM Shiv Om Leela Mayi Divine Dancing Dakini
cathy seattle U.S.A.
His music is a celebration of the humanity of North Africa and the Indian subcontinent.
Florence Cattin, Madrid, Spain
Excellent DJ and composer!!!!!!!!!!!! love his work and consider him a bit of the grand father of world music mixes, diffusion, compilations, etc. Definitely deserves the award!!!!!!
howard t. palmer-new york, NY
as a musician, mentor and freind for many, many years i can say w/absolute certantiy i have seen the growing and learning of a shaman, seer and visonary that is the d.j. known as cheb i sabbah. i have seen him open eyes, ears, hearts and minds as he has certainly mine. floors shake and quiver in the ecstacy of music from other spaces and places that he mixes into a brew that only a master mixoligist can do. that is cheb i sabbah!!! may he continue to give the real gift of music to all. peace/namaste/shalom, howard t. palmer
Grandmaster of the DJ scene- his finely tuned ear for perfection of tone and subtlety, blending and rhythms are unsurpassable. He knows a good sound from the ancient traditions when he hears one and does not rely on contrived synthetic sounds to create the magic that he does at every show. Never saw a gig where people didn't walk away feeling like they attained something even if it was just for the moment. Experience it for yourself. Peace and more
Robert Dakota Sedona, Arizona
Cheb i Sabbah has been an inspiration to me with his music since 97'. I used to dance to his music every Tuesday @ Ncikies when I lived in the Bay area. He is a gem that grows more pricelsss to world culture in each performance.
Rhonda - Laguna Beach, CA
I just saw Cheb Sabbah for the first time in Santa Monica, CA on Saturday, January 28, 2006 and his music is very "healing" and "spiritual"...Thank you!
Marine Akopyan Montebello Ca
I love CHEB I SABBAH I love his music mixes he throws a mean party its good to have someone play arabic hidi bangra mix i think hes just wonderfull and his mixes are ju beautiful My brother is a Dj so I know a grat music mix when i see it and wow my compliments to a great artist.
Mo, Ottawa, Canada
He's awesome! Can't wait to see him again @ The Mercury Lounge in 2 weeks!
i love him!!!!!
Jamila Allouane, Los Angeles
Cheb I Sabbah is a great artist. His last album La Kahena is a musical treasure! He deserves to win!
Hardeep, Delhi, India
Cheb i Sabbah's music goes beyond all borders and limits. We love him in Delhi for his bringing new remixes to old classics unlike any other DJ.
Suha - San Francisco
He has grown to a great level. We love the way he puts elements of music together on his own way. Love to see more of him in the San Francisco music scene.
Cheb i Sabbah is an amazing worldtronica artist and dj. His Shri Durga - Maya Maya - Krishna Lila trilogy is a classic and has earned him worldwide acclaim from East to West. He is also a remarkable dj spinning the most amazing Arabic and South Asian sounds. I have had the pleasure of dancing to his extended sets of Asian Underground, bhangra, Arabic, and Turkish fusion at his homebase of San Francisco, and while on tour in Miami and Honolulu. La Kahena is an incredible album including collaborations with equally amazing artists such as Cheba Zahouania and B'Net Marrakech. Incidentally, the first remixes off the album are starting to get released by the label, among them a wicked bhangra-meets-gnaoua remix (by DJ Sandeep Kumar) of the Toura Toura cut featured on this page!
Cheb i Sabbah's music goes beyond borders and beliefs. A true rarity in today's world. He has elegantly been able to capture the essence of Arabic, African, and South Asian music like no other DJ. Give the award to the man who innovates, not imitates.
Kaarel - Tallinn, Estonia
Hare Krishna! Blessings!
Farasha San Francisco, CA
cheb i sabbah makes music and the air becomes clearer, life is more interesting and time stops long enough to break down and dance!!!!!! i love the respect he gives to the religious aspect of the song and yet twists it to be young and hip and flirty. songs stick in my head and make the mood a little smoother, how does it go....??? toura toura tour ka lila toura tou ra ka lila, you know the words.....
La Kahena rocks! It was awesome to hear his interpretation of Arabic music through new sounds and textures. Cheb i Sabbah deserves this award for his combined contribution to world music.
James - Kentish Town
La Kahena is a killer record! (Even my hard-core dance fan of a brother loves it.) I also love how Cheb i has been so restrained on how much he "does" to the raw recordings - he just gives it what it needs! I hope he wins this, he's been around for some time making great records...he deserves it.