Friday, June 4, 2010

Rachid Taha

Rachid Taha is a French-Algerian singer and provocateur who has straddled the musical boundaries between rock, rai, and Euro-techno for nearly three decades. He is the pioneering figure in Arab-technopop and was cited by no less than The Clash as a powerful influence. Grassroots rai fans rate him for a groundbreaking 1999 Paris concert with the scene’s biggest stars, Khaled and Faudel, which drew a rapt audience of 15,000 people. For the older generation, his covers of classic Algerian standards hold the most appeal.

He gives a famously charismatic and rambunctious live show, careening from croon to purr to his trademark throaty exhortations, in Arabic, French and English. On top of this, he is a master of creating intense musical atmospheres that draw from both contemporary DJ culture and the gnawa Sufi brotherhoods.

One advantage of Rachid Taha being relatively unknown in this country is that he performs in venues that would be absurdly small in most other parts of the world. Taha plays at Neumo's in Seattle on June 6. Tickets are available here.

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