The Algerian Ministry of Culture announced, Thursday, that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has agreed to register the art of “Rai” as an Algerian intangible cultural heritage for humanity.
And the ministry said in a statement: “Algeria deservedly achieved a global cultural achievement after the approval of the (UNESCO) committee to register the rai song (a musical art) as an Algerian intangible cultural heritage for humanity.”
And she added, “With this classification, Algeria is witnessing decisive testimony to the world’s recognition of this cultural musical genre, and confirms its undisputed Algerian originality, which, with its nobility, poetry, and musical diversity, is a message of love and peace for all humanity.”
The ministry described this decision as a “victory” and thanked “the member states of the UNESCO Committee for this historic and deserved redress.”
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For its part, “UNESCO” published a tweet on its account on the Twitter platform, in which it stated: “The inclusion of a new element in the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage: Rai, popular singing in Algeria.”
On March 31, 2021, Algeria officially reclassified the “Rai” file on the UNESCO World Heritage List, after it was withdrawn in December 2020, due to the technical weakness of the file, according to a statement by the Algerian Ministry of Culture at the time.
According to the ministry, “the request to classify the rai song in order to preserve it from loss, and in response to some countries (which they did not name) that are trying to attribute this lyrical color to them.”
Rai is a music that derives its roots from the Bedouin song of the regions of western Algeria, such as Oran and Sidi Bel Abbas. Its beginning was at the hands of the “Sheikhs” (local singers).