3 album(s)

The one and only North-African Brass Band – WOMEX 2013 – Raï is not dead


The one and only French North-African Brass band
The one and only French North-African Brass band


Third Album « Raï is not dead » released on April 27, 2018 (Tour’n’sol Prod/ L’autre Distribution/ RFI Talent)


« French from Britany, French Algerians, French Moroccans, French who suddenly discover that they are Algerians, jazz musicians who suddenly discover a passion for the Maghrebian 6/8… and begin to sing in Arabic, Berber or Turkish and to dance like the Gnawa… These funny boasters make up Fanfaraï, a Rai UFO matured in the copper sun of North Africa which breathes intercultural harmony and offers a sensory journey … without visa… to the southern shores of the Mediterranean, Turkey and elsewhere. « Great happiness and strong emotions are always there with them on stage ! »


Fanfaraï offers a true human, musical and cultural experience. These eleven musicians of various cultural backgrounds revisit, in their own ways, the tradition of festive wanderings.


This atypical and original band, born in 2005 and living in France, plays North African music by blending skilfully brasses, traditional percussions, Arabo-Berber, Afro-Cuban, Latin and Jazz sounds. From the street to the stage there is just one step for this colourful orchestra which offers a very festive and generous show. Between tradition and modernity, Fanfaraï plunges us into a rousing and emotional musical ambience.

Fanfaraï emerged in 2005 under the direction of Samir Inal. After creating Ziyara (a traditional Algerian Street band in 2000), he met with musicians coming from jazz and salsa bands and decided to readapt with them the traditional and popular repertoire for a brass band.


Fanfaraï goes along the same line as the tradition of these street orchestras, called Idbalen or Zernadjia that animated rituals and feasts in Algeria from the beginning of the century till the 1970’s. Idbalen was common in the Berber region, Algiers and its surroundings. These bands used to perform in public squares, streets and mausoleums during the feast of local saints. Inseparable from festive events, these street musicians used Tbel (drums), Ghaita (flute) and Tbilette (small drum or tambourine), Derbouka, Guellal and Kerkabou according to their region.


Fanfaraï combined the saxophones, congas, trumpets, trombone, drums or the tuba to these traditionnal instruments, readapted the repertoire for all these instruments and introduced – naturally – Afro-Cuban, Salsa, Latin and jazz influences.

The North African music has never been played this way  (with a brass band) and this is what makes Fanfarai so original and the project so successful. The music of Fanfaraï is a cheerful combination that is as interesting as the diversity of cultures and trajectories of the musicians themselves. French, Algerian, Marocan, Franco-Italien musicians bring their energy and talent together and keep sharing their own particular musical heritage with all the other members of the band. The basis of the repertoire of Fanfaraï is Algerian and Moroccan and each member of the band is free to bring his own influences into it. Fanfarai succeeds on each performance – in the streets or on stages – to carry its audience away beyond ethnic descent or nationality, towards territories of tolerance, discovery and pleasure.


Tani , the second album of the band was released on May 2013 and gives a good view of their creativity with personal compositions and new reggae and funk influences. Raï is not Dead the third album of the band was released in April 2018.

This album is a tribute to Boutaïba Sghir, a Raï icon of the 70’s. Fanfaraï decided to gather three generations of Raï musicians who marked their times by participating in the liberation of speech and a creativity in an Algeria tied up by internal rivalries, conservatism and extremism.

The leitmotiv of the band is : « to learn from one another and to share with all ».


Masterclasses and workshops discovering the rhythms of the Maghreb.


Fanfaraï Big Band
Samir Inal:
Compositions, percussions, oud, choirs
Patrick Touvet:
Compositions,  trompette, bugle, choirs
Olivier Combrouze:
Compositions, saxs tenor and baritone
Vincent Théard:
Mehdi Chaïb:
Saxs soprano,tenor,  karkabu, choirs
Didier Combrouze:
Bass, choirs
Abdelkader Tab:
Compositions, guembri, percussions, vocal lead.
Bouabdellah Khelifi:
Compositions, violon, vocal lead
Guillaume Rouillard:
Trumpet, bugle
Antoine Giraud:
Marouane Slimani:
Fanfaraï Street Band
8 musicians with:
Samir Inal:
Traditional percussions
Patrick Touvet:
Guillaume Rouillard
Abdelkader Tab:
Traditional Percussions
Olivier Combrouze:
Saxs. tenor, baritone
Merouane Slimani
Mehdi Chaïb:
Sax. soprano, percussions
Antoine Giraud:



« Their third  album, which succeeds in fusing diverse musical genres. Comprising a typical rai framework, there is melhoun, a melismatic Andalucia-derived poetic song, and Gnawa, a North African ceremonial incantation and dance, both well-integrated into a jazz or Latin-jazz background with an occasional reggae admixture.
Their live performances, grounded in their background as agroupe de rue (street band) and enhanced by audience enthusiasm, is more spontaneous and visceral. »



« Fanfarai’s third release is a resurrection of 1970s rai when the music was emphatic, underground and despised by the status quo.  Arrangements are tight with tantalising quotes from other musical styles.  Exuberant, cosmopolitan, jazzy and hip, this disc is a celebration and confirmation of the communicative power and versatility of music. I bet live this band are a killer. Give yourself a treat and have a listen, you will absolutely find that rai is not dead. »



« Exuberant, cosmopolitan, jazzy and hip, this disc is a celebration and confirmation of the communicative power and versatility of music. I bet live this band are a killer. Give at yourself a treat and have a listen, you will absolutely find that rai is not dead. »

« Fanfaraï sounds intense, massive and compact and connects western funk and reggae with North African music. A way to bring brass band music throughout the Maghreb. »


Süddeutsche Zeitung

« Rai Is Not Dead » heißt das neue Album der Fanfarai Big Band. Ein Dutzend französische und nordafrikanische Musiker aus der Region Paris nehmen sich hier- neben einigen Neukompositionen – vor allem der Klassiker an und stellen sie in einen neuen Kontext: den Big Band Jazz… Die urafrikanische Kulturtechnik des Remix – hier beschert sie dem Rai eine neue Saison, mindestens. »


Solar jazz world

« Fanfarai es una de las agrupaciones mas interesantes del world music surgidas en los ultimos anos y esto lo demuestran con esta gema musical que deberia ser estudiada por bandas que deseen fusionar generos. Tani logra crear un discurso que trasciende el espacio, tiempo y la imaginacion. »


Jazz Mag
« Les notes jaillissent de partout dans un ordonnancement très étudié. (…) C’est bien la richesse, l’originalité de solides arrangements qui fait la différence. (…) Vocaux ou instrumentaux les contrechants apportent de la couleur. (…) Comme en surimpression les solos prolongent le côté jubilatoire, festif. L’effet rythmique porte un appel naturel à la danse.  À franchement parler on se trouve un peu cons à rester scotchés ainsi sur son siège devant ce déferlement de temps qui se poussent les uns les autres, distanciation (anti) sociale et gestes barrières obligent… »


Jazz News

« un blues dynamique et enchanté retraçant l’histoire d’un raï critiqué. »



« Si les trains n’ont pas très bien roulé en France ces dernières semaines, les voies du raï, elles, n’ont jamais semblé aussi dégagées. Et ouvertes aux destinations les plus étonnantes. […] Un joyeux bazar, donc, mais réglé avec une minutie d’horloger suisse. » note : 16/20 


France Inter

« Bel équilibre que ce big band doit à l’alliance astucieuse de voix habitées, d’une section de cuivre efficace, d’instruments issus de multiples continents et d’une formation basse-clavier-batterie plus actuelle. »



« Bon pour le dire vite et bien, Fanfaraï c’est riche, c’est bon, et c’est cool ! »



« Ça dépote, ça danse, ça rigole : impossible de résister à ce concentré de bonnes vibrations. »



« Fanfaraï a galvanisé l’an 2018 avec le CD Raï Is Not Dead, sélectionné par RFI Talent, et propulsant le raï vers les plus hautes sphères. »


RTBF – Le Monde est un village

« Le Raï existait avant la vague des Chebs et existera toujours. Les musiciens du Fanfaraï nous le prouvent avec ce disque, hommage particulier au Raï des anciens »



« Free raï ou jazz oriental, appelez leur musique comme bon vous semble, elle ne s’en offusquera pas tant elle est ouverte d’esprit ! »


France: Jazz à Vienne – Jazz sous les pommiers 2011/2015 – Jazz au fil du Cher – Festival des Suds Festival 2010/2013 – Festival des Hauts de Garonne – Villes des Musiques du Monde Festival – Hôtel de Ville de Paris – Salon du Livre de Paris – Musée du quai Branly – Alhambra  – Musiques Métisses Festival – Espace Senghor – Make a frick – 4 times a year in Studio de l'Ermitage in Paris, our second home – Institut du monde arabe – Opéra de Lyon


Europe: Fira Mediterrania de Manresa (Spain) – Tres Culturas Festival (Spain) – Musica Popular Traditional Vilanova Festival (Spain) – Semana Grande de Bilbao (Spain) – Bardentreffen (Germany) – Rhur International Festival (Germany) – Die nächte des ramadan Berlin (Germany) – Lisboa Mistura (Germany) – Colours of Ostrava (Czech Republic) – Glatt & Verkehrt Festival (Autriche) – City Cultural Festival (Sweden) – Ethnoport Festival (Poland)  – Fête de la musique de Bruxelles (Belgium) – La Nuit africaine (Belgium) – WOMEX 2013 official selection (Wales) – Rich mix (United Kingdom) – Durham International Brass Festival 2010/2015 (United Kingdom) – Sziget Festival (Hungary) – Time in Jazz (Italy) – Me You Zic Festival (Luxembourg) – Globus Festival (Netherland) – Forde Festival (Norway) – Moods (Belgium) – Festival des 5 Continents (Switzerland) – Masala festival (Allemagne)


World: Mawazine Festival 2010/2013 (Moroco) – Awaln’art Festival (Moroco) – Festival International de la Musique Diwane (Algeria) – Tournée des Instituts français (Algeria) – Turquish tour 2015 (Istanbul, Ankara, Eskishehir, Gaziantep) – American tour 2015 (USA/Canada) : Montréal, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Boston, New York, Madison, Bloomington


The band is based in France and available on request for concerts, workshops and pedagogical encounters.