RACHID TAHA (ALGERIA/FRANCE)
Here's one nominee who won't necessarily be thrilled if he wins in this or any other 'world music' category. His verdict of the label? 'It's a term for storekeepers.' And just don't call him a rai artist, either. He may have been born in the Algerian port city of Oran (where the style originated), has often approached it in his music, and appeared alongside bona fide rai superstars Khaled and Faudel on the groundbreaking 1999 live CD 1, 2, 3 Soleil, but Rachid Taha dislikes that pigeonhole.
'I always say I'm like Rai Cooder/Rai Orbison,' he deadpans when asked about the matter at a press conference featured on the DVD that comes with his excellent 2004 album Tékitoi? (Who Are You?). Then he elaborates: '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.'
Taha sees himself as a 'permanent immigrant' in France, which his family moved to when he was ten. Driven by a rebellious instinct and eclectic vision, his music has been in a constant state of flux since debuting with reggae/rai/funk rockers Carte de Séjour in 1982. One constant influence over the last two decades has been his collaborator Steve Hillage, whose production and input have often underwritten or facilitated Taha's taste for club music and electronica. Perhaps the most autobiographical and arguably the best of his six solo CDs is Diwan (2001), which is mostly covers of the North African classics closest to his heart. He compares the presence of such music in his to that of a watermark. Or a smell.
On stage, Taha is a feral and formidable presence, his small stature contrasting almost comically with the huge gutteral growl he unleashes. Often hiding behind sunglasses and a cap, he sometimes appears to stumble in his leather trousers like a drug-muddled rocker. But it's more likely a result of the mild form of muscular dystrophy he suffers from. His most recent high profile UK tour was in early 2005, when he joined forces with Senegalese rappers Daara J and Touareg desert blues rockers Tinariwen. Together they were billed as the African Soul Rebels. One can only guess what he thought of such a tag.
BBC Music: Tekitoi review
National Public Radio feature
Deennaa - Alaska USA
Back in late 80's I think, I was looking in the "world music" section of one of our local music shops & found a cassette tape that said music of Afghanistan on it & bought it. The first song I heard on it was Ya Rayah, although it did not list any of the songs or the musicians - just one generic title. Well anyway, I fell in love with that song not knowing any language but my Indian(red) & english language. It just grabbed me totally. I carried that tape with me til this very day. Its only been this past 2 weeks ago that I discovered on the web that this same song had a name and a nationality and it wasn't Afghanistani! What a blooper someone made, but anyway I still like Afghanistani music and I now STILL LOVE Ya Rayah by RACHID TAHA and will be looking for all of his music I can find. That's just great! Whats even better is that I so agree with his thoughts on the world WE ALL SHARE - the REAL ONE. Deennaa
Rachid Taha is by far the best Arabic, north African, European by lingua Singer that could combine all the afro-Arab Algerian traditional music instruments. these days you mostly hear electronically composed music with Synthesiser rather than using traditional instruments. I believe by using traditional instruments like Gasbah, Bendire, gheita ( Zerna) and Tabla etc...Taha will remain the best Algerian Arabo-African Rocker using the trditional costums as well. I just wish that the Algerian musicians can get together and a form a front to speak for the Algerian People. We are all very proud of our artists, art and country and hop that Algeria and the Algerian people move on and make a good progress in life. I wish Taha all the best God Bless Azzedine London
rachid is the king of punk-rock!and his style is the best in the world.
I love this man! He’s really a great star. Rachid, I wish you all the best!
Rachid Taha is really distinictive and an artist with a great message, which is very rare nowadays. I always enjoyed his concerts... he really ROCKS!
just heard him the first time today at a internet radio station and I like it very much. I don't care about "labels", it's fine music and that's what counts
Rachid truly rocks! Tekitoi is awesome, I love it. The man is a genius in the way he combines so many musical styles to create his own very distinctive sound.
The godfather of north African rock is Rachid taha. the best on the planet in that style. rachid is rocking. kamel from Washington dc. congratulations!!!!
I'm delighted he's been nominated even if he considers World Music to be a shopkeeper's brand name. He joins the rank of W. B. Yeats in his disdain for the merchantile. I'm looking forward to tonight's Dublin gig. Taha's November 2005. September 1913- W.B. Yeat's What need you, being come to sense, But fumble in a greasy till And add the halfpence to the pence And prayer to shivering prayer, until You have dried the marrow from the bone? For men were born to pray and save: Romantic Ireland's dead and gone, It's with O'Leary in the grave.
wael jamous Syria
What I really want to say that I consider Rachid Taha the first Arabic rocker , and the best one the way he mixes the Arabic rhythms with rock is incredible... and it`s not the first time he will be Mr. world music ... I wish for him the best ....