Audio Transcript:

MARCO WERMAN: As you may have heard last Friday I spent the last couple of days in Las Vegas covering a concert of Arabic music that took place there on Saturday night. The headliner for that show was the Algerian rai superstar Khaled. He also has a new recording out called Liberte which has received rave reviews. During our interview Khaled gave me a brief history lesson that provided the background to one of the songs on Liberte. The song is called Zabana. It's a popular name in the Algerian town of Oran where Khaled is from. There's even a large sports arena there � the Zabana Stadium. It's named after Ahmed Zabana � the most famous Zabana and the inspiration for Khaled's song.

[MUSIC]

KHALED: [SPEAKING FRENCH]

WERMAN: Khaled says he's singing an homage for a man who gave his life for Algeria. So who was Ahmed Zabana?

KHALED: [SPEAKNG FRENCH]

WERMAN: Khaled describes Ahmed Zabana in a way that many Algerians remember him � the first person guillotined by the French in the Algerian war of independence. Zabana was one of the leaders of a nationalist movement in Oran. His group was part of the simultaneous attacks on French targets on day one of the Algerian war of independence � November 1, 1954. Zabana was taken prisoner by the French. Khaled admires Zabana, he says, because he was motivated not out of hate for France but for love of Algeria.
KHALED: [SPEAKING FRENCH]

WERMAN: When the French came to get him he didn't shoot back, says Khaled. He said, you're looking for me? The French said we're going to convict you. We're going to kill you. Zabana said okay. Khaled says there's a significant phrase in his song � j'offre or I offer.

KHALED: [SPEAKING FRENCH]

WERMAN: I offer my blood for this beautiful Algeria. Words that many Algerians to this day remember as Zabana's final words. Algerian singer and composer Khaled there with a short history lesson from his country. His latest CD is title Liberte. Our program comes to you from the Nan and Bill Harris Studios in Boston. You can find us online at The World dot org when we're not on your radio. I'm Marco Werman. We leave you with more of Khaled's track Zabana. Thank you for listening.

[MUSIC]