Khaled - Kenza - Review
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critics' view

Since the early 1990s, rai pop star Khaled has steadily smoothed over the rough edges of the carefree North African dance-pop sound that brought him great acclaimand criticismin his homeland of Algeria. Since then Khaled has lived in Paris and aimed toward more Western horizons, exploring the sounds of R&B and reggae with mixed success. On Kenza, recorded mostly in Paris and London, Khaled has found just the right balance of Arabic elements and heavy Western rhythms—not to mention memorable melodies. In a move of taste and poise, he duets with Indian singer Amar. The effect is infectious as Khaled's vocals dance and tumble while a fire of horns, keyboards, strings, and percussion blazes on. Egyptian percussionist Hossam Ramzy lends his talents to a few tracks, and the overall feel of Kenza is one of a rebellious Algerian rai star reaching full artistic maturity and grace. This is his finest yet.

Karen K. Hugg
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