During the musical blockage and stagnation in North Africa of most of the late eighties - and early nineties - Raï acts, gave birth to a new generation of young Moroccan Raï singers such as Cheb Amrou, Mohamed Ray,Cheb Wari,Othmane,Cheb Hindi etc, who were able to bring new directions and definitions of what was the original (Raï means 'my opinion') from Oran, Algeria. One of the most successful is 22 year-old Cheb Mara from Mohamedia, a city close to Casablanca. He has already released eight brilliant tapes on the Moroccan market with sales exceeding 20'000 copies per title and can often be seen performing live across the country. Mara's first album for Barraka Productions was made possible via Jalal Hamdaoui's connections to the national Raï scene. Twenty years old, he's been working since the age of ten in diverse studios as a sound engineer, drummer, arranger and keyboarder with people like Cheb Hasni,Raina Raï, Mohamed Ray,Nass El Ghiwane,Lem Chaheb,Jil Jilala,Bouchenak etc, and has been involved in all Barraka recordings at the Sonya and Ziryab studios; he has as well done some programming for Sapho and Argan. Having grown up in Oujda, near the Algerian border and a one-hour drive from Oran, it seems obvious that the influence of Algerian on his career would be huge. Living now in Casablanca, he has been absorbing, more and more, all kinds of traditional Moroccan styles as well as the westernised sides of club culture. This album is a collection of diferent Raï styles between Reggae, Drum'n'Bass, Ballads, Ambient and Dance. Guest appearances by Cheb Youssef (Amïra Saqati,AKJE) playing on three tracks and Akkaoui Abderrahim, imposing his delirious vocals, embellish the recording and give a sort of landscape-like profile to the whole sound. After long discussion between the members we had unfortunately to pass on some of the lyrics of 'TiTi' ('Sit down') - rap parts were removed through an auto-censorship treatment, given that their meaning would have been too offending to most of the Moroccan community. An uncensored version is planned, when the time is ready. 'Immigri' is a song about the 'unnecessary' and deceptive dream of immigration to Western or European countries. It calls to the young generation to build up their future as best they can in their own homeland and not to think that the streets abroad are paved of gold. Most of the other tracks treat the 'original' Raï topic, which is love: lost, found, regretted, deserted, permitted,forbidden etc. . In Morocco as well as in Algeria, Raï is still seen as a very rude and disrespectful way of expression; it should not be listened to in the presence of parents, women and the elderly. Also it has underground and disinherited-social values. It's interesting to observe, however, that sentimental lyrics have a far more intensive and often self- destructive effect upon some of the Moroccan youth than political or philosophical statements; sometimes they even become the cause of self-flagellation, or self-inflicted violence (but not upon others), with broken glass or bottles, a sort of materialized suffering, expressing the total submission to the meaning of a poem ( for example track 9 could eventually do it ). Not exactly what we are expecting of you... We'll be happy enough if you like the sound, and it makes your belly dance to it's beat.