RIP Rachid Taha
September 13, 2018 9:55 AM   Subscribe

A World Music legend. Taha is considered as one of the godfathers of what we call today "worldbeat / global fusion", as he blended Algerian Rai and rock early from the 80s as a member of the Carte de Séjour band through his diverse Solo career as an international music star. He has suddenly died yesterday, just six days before his 60th birthday.

Taha has recently played with Brian Eno, Robert Plant, Patti Smith and The Clash member Mick Jones. Self beleived as the inspiration for the Clash's "Rock the Casbah" which he personally covered in 2004.

His breakthrough albums were produced by Gong's Steve Hillage and Was (Not Was)' Don Was. my personal favourites are "Oh Cherie Cherie" from his 2000 album "Made in Medina", and "Valencia" with the wonderful Opus III vocalist Kirsty Hawkshaw.

Surprisingly he didn't lose it in his last-years repertoire, the NIN's like "Jamila" is an example. His most renowned hit from his band-career was a immigrant protest cover to a french holy cow, "Douce France". His biggest mainstream hit was 1993's "Ya Rayah" and actually a cover version as well, for a well known 70's algerian hit.
posted by avi111 (24 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Shit. Not only was his music great, but he also used his platform to ask that people be better.
posted by frimble at 10:18 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]

I listened to a lot of "world fusion" music when I was in high school (insufferably, I had decided that Radiohead was too popular to talk about anymore). But I enjoyed the music, and, crucially for my age, Rachid Taha always seemed cool as hell.

posted by grandiloquiet at 10:21 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]

Voila Voila!

posted by philip-random at 10:42 AM on September 13

posted by mwhybark at 10:50 AM on September 13

we lost a giant today. his was one of the most electrifying shows I've ever seen.
posted by Sauce Trough at 11:21 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]

What?? No. Nonononono.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:24 AM on September 13

I learned of him from the use of Barra Barra on the Blackhawk Down soundtrack, damn shame to go so young. I shall have to dig into his back catalogue again.
posted by Happy Dave at 11:24 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


This was my introduction to modern middle eastern/ north african music. I saw him in a show with Hakim opening. That was probably the BEST show I have ever been to.
posted by indianbadger1 at 11:50 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]

posted by thivaia at 11:54 AM on September 13

posted by jim in austin at 11:55 AM on September 13

Saw him perform at an outdoor venue years ago - he and the band tore the place apart - it was like seeing the Arabic James Brown...

posted by PhineasGage at 11:58 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]

Damn. A great musician and fantastic live. Must dig out my old CDs

posted by Fuchsoid at 12:53 PM on September 13


As soon as I heard Barra Barra in Black Hawk Down I was transfixed and had to get his albums. He came to LA on tour some years ago but for whatever reason I didn't go to the show; now I really wish I had.
posted by mogget at 2:04 PM on September 13

Unless you lived in France, he was pretty hard to see live. I only managed to see him once, on my 40th birthday, at a world music festival in the next country, and we made the trip purely to see him. When he finished, we turned around, and one of the buildings on the site was in flames.

posted by daveje at 2:36 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]

I am so bummed that he died! He was a great musician!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 3:07 PM on September 13

posted by Katjusa Roquette at 3:16 PM on September 13

posted by ourobouros at 4:56 PM on September 13


I don't know the genre much but he was obviously one of the greats.
posted by cendawanita at 5:15 PM on September 13

Oh no - such sad news. I picked up Made in Medina from a recommendation in fnac a long time ago.

My favorite is barra barra, too. It just builds and builds and builds....
posted by Otherwise at 6:27 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]

posted by gusandrews at 8:02 PM on September 13


posted by XtinaS at 9:00 PM on September 13


This 1987 video of Taha talking about racism and history (in French with French subtitles) appeared on my Twitter timeline and I've thought about it quite a bit since.
posted by Kattullus at 3:07 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]

posted by filtergik at 3:55 AM on September 14

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