Renowned Musician Rachid Taha
Born in 1958 in Oran, Algeria, with his unique blend of techno, rock, punk and rai, Algerian-French musician Rachid Taha has attracted quite a following of fans, and has earned the respect of fellow musicians. Singing primarily in Arabic, Taha’s political and social awareness is evident in his unwavering support of democracy and tolerance, and his condemnation of racism, discrimination and fundamentalism.
Following a period of being the leader of the French rock band, Carte de Sejour, which ended in 1989, Taha decided to go solo. His solo album, “Diwan”, featuring his rendition of songs steeped in Maghrebi and Arab tradition, was well received by fans and critics alike. In 2004 he released the album “Tekitoi”, which was produced by British musician, Steve Hillage. The album received critical acclaim from other well known rock musicians.
In 2005 Rachid Taha had the opportunity to perform with Robert Plant, singer-songwriter and musician possibly best known as the lead vocalist for British rock band Led Zeppelin. Taha also performed alongside Patti Smith, who is also known as the “Godmother of Punk”, as well as Brian Eno, a British musician, music theorist, singer and record producer. His ability to embrace a wide range of genres is a tribute to his talent and versatility as a musician. His skill at playing the mandolute adds an appealing dimension to his distinctive sound.
The 2001 film, Black Hawk Down, included Taha’s song “Barra Barra” from his album “Made in Medina”. Moreover, the 2007 film, The Future is Unwritten, about The Clash frontman Joe Strummer featured Taha’s cover version of “Rock the Casbah” in Arabic.
Rachid Taha’s latest album, “Diwan2”, reflects an atmosphere born out of a culture of exile, beautifully enhanced by the Cairo string orchestra, as well as the mandola of Hakim Hamadouche. As a pioneer of Arab rock in the 1980s, and well aware of a world where prejudices against immigrants abounds, Taha has consistently remained faithful to his Algerian roots, while nonetheless, moving ahead in the fast paced modern world. Critics agree that this accomplished musician has blended vital elements of the past with the realities of the present, while looking to the future in a manner which is sure to see his fan base grow.