The folk music Raï ("opinion" in Arabic), had its beginnings in Oran. This genre of music was formulated by shepherds in the 1930s through Arab and European influences. This music was surrounded by controversy due to women's key role in public performances of the music, as well as the hedonistic lyrics about love and alcohol. This led to strict governmental control in the area which led to arrests, injuries, and assassinations. Many notable Raï musicians (including Cheb Hasni, Cheb Khaled, and Rachid Taha) hail from Oran. The violinist Akim el Sikameya was also born in Oran. One of Oran's most famous emigrants is Yves Saint Laurent.
Oran has become a major trading centre for the wider area, serving Arzew, the area's oil/gas port as well as Sonatrach, the country's biggest oil and gas company. Sonalgas has built a new congress centre in Oran and in 2010 the 16th International Conference & Exhibition on Liquefied Natural Gas was held in the city of Oran, which attracted around 3,000 visitors and major companies from around the world. To accommodate all visitors, new hotels are currently being constructed and floating hotels will be used in the future. With a growth in urbanization, water quality and management is being harmed in Oran; this change in water quality is affecting marine life and the state of beaches in this tourism driven city.
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