Rachid Taha, 59, Algerian Rocker Who Spoke for Immigrants, Dies
In his solo career, Mr. Taha extended both his musical fusions as well as his blunt lyrics. Based in Paris, he continued working with the English producer Steve Hillage, who had been a member of the progressive-rock group Gong as well as became a producer for Carte de Séjour.
Mr. Taha’s albums inside the 1990s as well as 2000s incorporated synthesizers as well as electronic beats alongside oud, rock guitars, the strings as well as reed flute of Egyptian pop, fierce North African rhythms as well as an occasional rap. He sometimes dressed to challenge racism, appearing on the cover of his 1995 album “Olé, Olé” with blond hair as well as blue contact lenses.
Mr. Taha recorded pop songs in Arabic which he had heard growing up on his 1998 album, “Diwan.” One track through the album, “Ya Rayah,” an Algerian song originally released in 1973 by Dahmane El Harrachi, about the loneliness as well as homesickness of an emigrant, became an international hit. Mr. Taha revisited the Arabic-pop heritage with the album “Diwan 2” in 2006.
In a watershed event for Algerian music in Europe, Mr. Taha headlined a 1998 arena concert in Paris with two top rai singers, Faudel as well as Khaled. The concert also yielded a live album, “1,2,3 Soleils.”
He turned decisively to hard rock on “Made in Medina” in 2001, while on his album “Tekitoi,” released in 2005, he put his mark on the Clash’s “Rock the Casbah,” translating which into Arabic. Mick Jones of the Clash was a guest on Mr. Taha’s final album, the 2013 “Zoom,” singing an English-language chorus on “Algerian Tango”— “I don’t forget those who love/I don’t forget those who betray me” — which paid apt tribute to the fervor as well as rage of Mr. Taha’s music.
Mr. Taha, whose survivors include his son, Lyes, had completed an album due for Discharge next year.