Taha has long been recognised as a perceptive thinker and a courageous mental guerrillero, but what is really astounding is that he has always been fighting a war on two fronts. His stand against the racism and bigotry of his adoptive France, so neatly expressed in anthems like ‘Voilà Voilà’, or the corruption of western governments and war-mongerers, has already been widely hailed and documented.
But where exactly is Rachid Taha today? With the success of ‘Voilà Voilà’, ‘Ya Rayah’, and his participation alongside fellow Khaled and Faudel in the epic ‘1-2-3 Soleil’ concert at the Bercy stadium in Paris, which yielded a million-selling live album, Rachid was definitely a big star in France in the 1990s. But he never bothered to capitalise on that status. Commercial strategies and speculations are just bore him frigid. When I ask Taha about the collapsing recorded music industry in France he just quips, “hang on, I’ll pass you my Financial Director and you can talk to him.” Ok, ‘nuff said.