Artist picture of Rachid Taha

Rachid Taha

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Ya Rayah Rachid Taha 06:13
Abdel Kader Rachid Taha, Faudel, Khaled 05:12
Ya Rayah Rachid Taha, Khaled, Faudel 07:28
Didi Khaled, Rachid Taha, Faudel 06:08
Abdel Kader Rachid Taha, Faudel, Khaled 05:00
Comme d'habitude Rachid Taha, Khaled, Faudel 04:21
Rock El Casbah Rachid Taha 04:28
Ach Adani Rachid Taha 06:25
Daiman Rachid Taha, Faudel, Khaled 04:20
Minouche Rachid Taha 03:20

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"For me, music is rock & roll, coloured by what is inside me and what is outside me. My music enables me to express my multiple identities..." A rebellious and groundbreaking artist, Rachid Taha never believed in musical barriers or demarcation and hated hearing his work described as 'world music'. Indeed, his fiery musical fusions drew on everything from punk and reggae to techno and African styles, making him a superstar in France with a huge impact on the global scene, as well as becoming an inspiration to The Clash while his strident lyricism was seen as giving a voice to immigrants all over the world.

Born in the province of Sig, Algeria, he grew up listening to a lot of Algerian music. But, when he was ten, his father moved the family to France and Rachid had his first experiences as an immigrant. At the age of 17 he worked in a central heating plant near Lyon, working by night as a club DJ playing Arabic music for the North African community, founding his own club Les Refoulés. It was as a DJ that his musical taste developed to incorporate many different musical roots, mashing Arabic music with western sounds by everyone from Buddy Holly to Led Zeppelin. He went on to write his own poetry and political songs, acknowledging his influence by The Clash and Linton Kwesi Johnson, going on to form the punk-inspired band Carte de Séjour with social commentaries about working conditions and immigrant experiences. They went on to achieve notoriety and outrage in France with their radical version of 'Douce France', a much-loved patriotic song originally recorded in the 1940s by Charles Trenet, which they performed with exaggerated irony and sarcasm, and were banned by French radio as a result.

Moving to Paris in 1989, he launched his solo career, with Don Was producing his debut 1991 solo album 'Barbès', before teaming up with English producer Steve Hillage, who encouraged him to broaden his style to implement other forms; Hillage became a close collaborator and co-writer for many years. His work became popular on the European DJ club scene, notably his treatment of the Arabic song 'Ya Rayah' and went on to play concerts with major rai artists Khaled and Faudel, with full orchestral backing. He continued to collaborate with different musicians, marrying a range of musical styles and covered The Clash hit 'Rock the Casbah' which had, by all accounts, been inspired by Taha himself in the first place, having met them some years earlier. His acclaimed 2013 album 'Zoom', produced by Justin Adams, included his own distinctive version of Elvis Presley's 'It's Now Or Never' and he went on to become an influential member and powerful voice in Damon Albarn's Africa Express, encouraging collaborations between western and African musicians. Always a charismatic, dynamic performer, Taha was a great communicator with an exciting stage act. He died of a heart attack in Paris on 12th September 2018, aged 59.