DJ/producer Cheb I Sabbah, who blazed trails in world music scene and was a mainstay on the Bay Area music scene, has died at the age of 66. Cheb I Sabbah was born Haim Serge El Baz in Algeria in 1947. He moved to Paris in the ’60s, where he began his career as a DJ. In 1984, he relocated to San Francisco, changed his name to Cheb I Sabbah ( “young of the morning”) and went on to make an international name for himself producing world music fused with dance beats.
Combining musical elements from all over the world, he released seven albums on Six Degress Records and appeared on that label’s two Asian Travels global compilations series. Sabbah was diagnosed with Stage IV stomach cancer in 2011 but continued working on music.
Fellow world music artist Kash Kale eulogized Sabbah on Twitter: “The world of music owes you so much… And I miss u brother.”
His family posted the following message on the artist’s website:
Dear friends, family, fans and fellow beat followers;
It is with a heavy heart that we, Cheb i Sabbah’s family, announce his peaceful passing yesterday morning in his home in San Francisco.
He was surrounded by his life partner of over 18 years and is memorialized by his two children and three grand children.
We ask that we be allowed the time to grieve and mourn our loss and will be announcing any memorial services in the near future…..
When dusk falls this evening, and the stars begin to swirl, our father is spinning for all the great ones who passed before him and were awaiting his arrival –
Here’s the man behind the decks at Komasket Music Festival. Joined by percussion players and a dancer, it looked like quite the party.