One of the most unexpected Fripp collaborations was the creation of Cheikha Rimittis “Sidi Mansour” album from 1994. An amazing blend of Middle East traditions meets Western rock.
Fronted by Cheikha Remitti, a female 70 years old Algerian Raï singer, often referred to as the Grandmother of Raï, with East Bay Ray (Dead Kennedys) on rhythm guitar, Fripp on lead guitar, Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) delivers some very very hot bass work throughout the album, all this on top of very crafted percussions and horns. All very talented put together to create a sound I have never heard on any other album.
“Sidi Mansour” was followed by a 1995 mini album: Cheikha [Unreleased Tracks From The Sidi Mansour Album]
Rimitti was one of the most influential singers in the development of the popular Algerian music style known as Rai. She was born in 1923 in French-controlled Algeria. She became an orphan at a young age and grew up living a hard life.
She joined a troupe of traditional Algerian musicians and learnt to sing and dance, and even though she was illiterate all her life, she created more than 200 songs. Mostly of a social realistic nature, about the hardness of poor people living, love, sex, alcohol ect. Her poetry forced her out of Algeria in the 1960’s, she spent most of the rest of her live in France. She died in Paris in 2006, aged 83.