Algeria's Souad Massi's remarkable debut album, Raoui, made her the new darling of the world music scene when it released in 2000 and even prompted some to dub her "the Algerian Bob Dylan" thanks to her deft, emotive social commentary. But Massi's path wasn't as easy as it sounds: determined to be a musician, she started out singing flamenco music (which is still one of her great loves), but found her voice wasn't suited to the medium. She moved on to a seven-year stint with the popular Algerian rock band Atakor, where Massi honed her chops and toured the country extensively. But she wasn't content to be just a star; she used her fame as a platform to speak out about social issues, which ultimately led to her losing her job as a town planner and suffering from unwanted attention from both the Algerian authorities and clerics who didn't approve of her politics. When she was on the verge of giving up singing in 1999, Massi was invited to participate in a "Women From Algeria" concert in Paris. She accepted, and the move proved to be career-saving, as Island Records was swept off its collective feet by her performance and offered her a recording contract soon after. Though she hails from Algeria, Massi's sound owes nearly nothing to rai and much more to American folk, flamenco and rock. However, she has turned to traditional Arabic instrumentation, mingling influences to craft an organic whole.