We all know and probably have rocked along with one or more of Rachid Taha's popular songs like Ya Rayah, Rock el Casbah, Nokta and It's Now or Never. Then suddenly, in the fall of 2018, the Algerian singer and songwriter passed away and his fans were left with a world devoid of his melodies. Yet the great thing about music is that it lives on long after an artist is gone -- and Taha's music is easily available online.
But in the next few days, Paris will also be a bit more melodic and captured by the rapture of Taha's fiery fusion of North African sounds with rock anthems and even pop influences.
From April 14 to the 16, the Institut du monde Arabe in Paris pays tribute to the late Taha with musical nights, followed by early morning souhour, an exhibition and even some films all to coincide with the exhibition “Sweet France: music from exile to urban cultures” dedicated to him by the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts (CNAM).
On the first night the Mexican Army performs. They are a collaboration of musicians, composers and singers who came together and formed a group after the premature death of Rachid Taha. They will perform some of his most famous songs as well as other lesser known numbers.
Then, on the 16th, running well into the 17th morning, there is a special "night of Ramadan" dedicated to Taha, featuring a night-long selection of films such as The Sweet France of Rachid by Farid Haroud, a documentary which tells the singer's story, the journey of a young immigrant from the 1970s, destined for a life as a worker but who instead built an existence as a major international artist.
For more info and to book tickets to the nights, check out the IMA's website.
Photo by © Richard Dumas