Algerian rock and raï god RACHID TAHA’s music embraces “heart-stopping break beats, flamenco guitar, African choruses, crunching hard rock, and the inevitable sappy love song” (Japan Times)—every show seems to be a party the whole world is invited to. Taha moved with his parents to France when he was ten years old. From its earliest moments, his musical career has been marked by postures both protest and insouciance--he combines militant agitation with hedonism. In 1982, Taha became the lead singer for the Clash-inspired group Carte de Sejour, a band he stayed with through the ‘80s, singing sometimes in English but mostly Arabic. In 1986, Taha recorded a version of a standard patriotic French song from the 1940s entitled Douce France on which he sang furious irony, a gambit that irritated many French listeners to the point where Taha’s version was banned from French radio. In 1989, Taha moved to Paris to launch his solo career, releasing Barbés(Universal/Barclay’s) in 1991. His breakthrough album came in 1998 with Diwân (Wrasse Records), which featured remakes of songs from Algerian and Arab traditions. His consistently excellent records since then and fantastic live performances have made him into a world music icon.
The colorful feast of mind-blowing grooves served up by KRAR COLLECTIVE—and the massive sound they make as a trio, based around the traditional krar harp, percussion, and soaring vocal harmonies—has earned them the nickname “The Ethiopian White Stripes.” Based on London, they’re sending shock waves through the world music scene.