Algerian-French singer Rachid Taha dies at 59

Rachid Taha, who blended Arabic music with rock and techno and at times wore blue contact lenses to protest anti-Arab prejudice in France, where he made his home, has died. He was 59. (AP Photo)
Updated 12 September 2018
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Algerian-French singer Rachid Taha dies at 59

  • The singer who thrillingly blended Arabic music with rock and techno died overnight after suffering a heart attack at his home in the Paris suburbs
  • Taha was scheduled to film the music video for one of the new songs, Je suis Africain, this weekend

 JEDDAH: French media reported on Wednesday the death of the Algerian-French singer Rachi Taha at the age of 59.

Taha died from a heart attack he suffered early on Wednesday in Paris, according to a statement by his family sent to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

“It is with regret and immense sadness that his son Lyes, his family and relatives, his friends and his record label Naive, announce the death of artist Rachid Taha, following a heart attack overnight at his home in the Lilas (near Paris),” the statement said.

Rachid Taha, an Algerian singer and activist, was born in 1958 in Sig, a town on Algeria’s northwest coast. At the age of 10 he moved with his family to Lyon in France.

He is known for his unique mixture of music; he merged traditional Algerian rai music with electronic rock.

In the 1990s, Taha released a remixed version of the song Ya Rayah (You, The One Leaving), a traditional Algerian song by Dahmane El Harrachi in his album “Diwan,” which featured Algerian Chaabi songs. The song hit number 11 on the French music charts and earned Taha international fame.

Taha was preparing to release a new album “Believe” in early 2019, according to Le Parisien.

Lebanese singer Elissa (@elissakh) said on Twitter, “I am so saddened to know about the death of Rachid Taha. Such a unique artist. May he Rest In Peace.”

Anissa Bouziane (@AnissaBouziane) tweeted, “Heartbroken to hear of Rachid Taha’s untimely passing. When in 1998, I interviewed him for WBAI NYC — he said: “Well my music is like a pair of “baboushes” that traveled (from the coast of North Africa) and then became American boots, Taha, your inspiration lives on. #RachidTaha"


British rockers Wolf Alice upset odds to win Mercury Prize

Rockers Wolf Alice picked up the £25,000 prize. (AFP)
Updated 21 September 2018
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British rockers Wolf Alice upset odds to win Mercury Prize

  • Wolf Alice's critically-acclaimed album charted at number two in Britain on its release in September

LONDON: Rockers Wolf Alice defied the odds to win Britain’s prestigious Mercury Prize on Thursday for their second album “Visions of a Life,” beating off competition from heavyweights Arctic Monkeys and Noel Gallagher.
“This means so much,” said emotional frontwoman Ellie Rowsell as she picked up the £25,000 ($33,000, 28,000 euros) prize, which is presented annually for the best album released by a British or Irish artist, according to a panel of judges.
The north London four-piece, who released their debut album in 2015, join past winners including Primal Scream, Franz Ferdinand, PJ Harvey, The xx and grime star Skepta.
The band, whose critically-acclaimed album charted at number two in Britain on its release in September, closed out the show with a celebratory performance of album track “Don’t Delete the Kisses.”