A form that emerged from hundreds of years of Algerian folk music, Rai is like the American blues: the singers tell it like it is, discussing everything with grit and abandon, whether the topic is sex or the country's political situation. In fact, Rai takes its name from the Algerian word for "truth" or "discourse." The music first acquired its mouthy reputation with the bawdy, down-at-the-heels lyricism of Cheikha Remitti, Rai's first important innovator in the 1930s. A peasant woman, Remitti's sultry, smoky voice and explicit lyrics scandalized polite society while captivating everyone else. The form eventually evolved to include social commentary, updating itself in the '60s to compete with western dance music. In recent years, prominent Rai musicians such as Cheb Khaled have emerged in France, enriching Parisian dance clubs while undoubtedly evading Algeria's hostile system of censorship. Traditional drums and stringed instruments have been displaced by keyboards and saxophones, although the classical Arabic scale is still key to the sound.