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Algerian singer Rachid Taha dies aged 59 in Paris

Wednesday - 12/09/2018 15:46
Algerian-born singer Rachid Taha has died of a heart attack at home in Paris aged 59, his family said.
AFP/GETTY Image caption The singer died at his home on Tuesday night, his family said
AFP/GETTY Image caption The singer died at his home on Tuesday night, his family said

Taha was born on Algeria's north-west coast in 1958 and moved with his family to Lyon aged 10.

He rose to prominence as the lead singer of Arabic-language group Carte de Séjour, which blended Western punk rock with Algerian Maghrebi music.

Taha then went solo, and in 2004 covered The Clash's song Rock the Casbah.

His other famous songs include a version of Douce France with Carte de Séjour, as well as his cover of song Ya Rayah as a solo artist.

In a 2001 music festival review, the BBC described his work as a "seductive mixture of traditional North African, rock, techno and dance music".

The singer first entered the music world when he opened a club in Lyon called Les Refoulés (The Rejects) in the late 1970s.

Working as a DJ there, he reportedly mixed Arabic pop music with backing beats from bands like Led Zeppelin and Kraftwerk.

Rachid Taha on stage in 2012
AFP/GETTY
Taha was reportedly working on a new album prior to his death
 

Most famously, however, Taha cited cited British punk group The Clash as a major influence.

He allegedly met them in 1981 and handed them a copy of his band's demo tape - which he later suggested may have influenced one of their most famous tracks.

"A few months [after giving them the tape], I heard Rock the Casbah," he said in an interview with London-based newspaper The Guardian. "Maybe they did hear it after all."

He would go on to perform his own version of the song with The Clash's Mick Jones years later.

His work also appeared in several films.

Barra Barra, a song from his album Made in Medina, notably appeared in the 2001 war film Black Hawk Down.

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