Algeria, People's Democratic Republic of (Arab. Jumhuriya al-Jazairiya ad-Dimuqratiya ash-Shabiya)
- Tony Langlois
(Arab. Jumhuriya al-Jazairiya ad-Dimuqratiya ash-Shabiya)
Country in North Africa. Algeria is the second-largest country in the African continent, with an area of 2,381,741 km² and a population of 31·6 million (2000). Its wide musical diversity reflects its geographic proximity to Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Tunisia and Western Sahara, as well as its physical and historical links with Europe. Sunni Islam is the state religion, and a regional form of Arabic is used, although French and Berber are also widely spoken. Most of the country's inhabitants live in the large cities of the Tell, the country's coastal plain, although significant populations occupy inland mountainous and desert regions. The country consists mainly of semi-arid plateaux and the Sahara, where isolated towns and oases serve the needs of transhumant tribes and the petrochemical industry. The 20th century's increased migration to northern cities, combined with recent technological developments, led to a closer overlapping, and in some circumstances mixing, of diverse musical and cultural practices....