Rachid Taha: Je Suis Africain (Believe/digital outlets)

 |   |  1 min read

Rachid Taha: Je Suis Africain (Believe/digital outlets)

The late Rachid Taha – who died in September last year – has made intermittent appearances at Elsewhere but we single out this posthumous release for an example of this Algerian-born, France-based artist who drew influences from traditional Algerian rai, French poets, punk and post-punk, various African styles and electronica.

He was political, collaborated with great rai singers like Cheb Khaled, travelled widely and on this album – which could sound like an accidental summing up – even tried his hand at singing in English on Like a Dervish (“I know I'm cheating, my English is not so rich”).

Although mostly sung in French, this album's title is the clue to the musical settings which incorporate the swirling sounds of Spain, North Africa and the gnawa, ballads with Middle Eastern overtones (Minouche) and South African influences (on the slippery title track which bumps hips with West African guitars and offers a list of Africans which includes Bob Marley, Malcolm X, Jimi Hendrix, Derrida and others).

Wahdi features the soaring voice of Fleche Love over a driving gnawa rhythm and with a trumpet part straight out an early Morricone spaghetti western soundtrack.

And whistling, with more trumpet, opens the following track Insomnia.

Andy Wahloo (Andy Warhol) is terrific. Striptease is a throaty and appropriately sultry blues. 

An outspoken post-colonial political voice who was fearless in the face of authorities and critics, Taha poured it all into a crucible and set the ingredients on a low, bubbling boil.

As he does here.

If he's gone past you, it is not too late to catch up.

You can hear this album on Spotify here

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Various Artists: Gilles Peterson Presents Havana Cultura (Brownswood/Soutbound)

Various Artists: Gilles Peterson Presents Havana Cultura (Brownswood/Soutbound)

The global success of Buena Vista Social Club a decade ago meant some presumed the group represented the sound of Cuba -- and that shut out any notion there might be vibrant young players (or even... > Read more

Staff Benda Bilili: Bouger le Monde (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

Staff Benda Bilili: Bouger le Monde (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

Recently while looking out music for a DJ night of African music I played dozens of tracks at home back-to-back searching for the best sounds . . . and one thing became very clear. Most of this... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

COLIN HEMMINGSEN PROFILED (2012): With his heart in both camps

COLIN HEMMINGSEN PROFILED (2012): With his heart in both camps

In many countries, what Colin Hemmingsen has done all his life would not be considerd so unusual. But in New Zealand he has been a rarity, a musician who has had successful careers in both... > Read more

Dub Spencer and Trance Hill: Riding Strange Horses (Echo Beach/Yellow)

Dub Spencer and Trance Hill: Riding Strange Horses (Echo Beach/Yellow)

Those who know their spaghetti westerns and love a bit of dubbery will welcome this new installment from the Swiss band Spencer/Hill (aka bassist Marcel Stalder, guitarist Markus Meier, keyboard... > Read more