Cheb i Sabbah (known as dj Cheb i Sabbah ) grew up as Haim Sérge El Baaz, a Jew of Berber (Amazigh) descent in Constantine, Algeria. He moved to Paris in the 1960s, and, more or less by accident, became a DJ. His complex cultural background may have prompted him to mix musical styles. By the late 1980s, he was pushing boundaries on the dance floor, seeking ways to work African, Asian, and Arabic music into the mix. Then, as the world music movement unfolded, Cheb i Sabbah began recording traditional and classical musicians himself and used those tracks to create new works — effectively, music composed by a DJ.
Sabbah returned to his native North Africa to gather the raw material for La Kahena, a set of eight pieces created from music by eight different acts, all featuring women singers. His most recent recording, Devotion (2009), marks a return to the subcontinental sounds he featured in Krishna Lila, but this time with strong accents of Pakistani Qawwali, offering versions of songs made famous by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (Kinna Sohna).
He was nominated by the BBC for the Awards for World Music 2006 in the "Club Global" category.
Cheb i Sabbah died on 6 November 2013 in San Francisco after battling stomach cancer for more than two years. He was 66 years old. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.