SAMET – Rachid Taha: My music is like Istanbul’s Bosporus Bridge

Rachid Taha: My music is like Istanbul’s Bosporus BridgeFrance-based Algerian singer Rachid Taha will come to Istanbul for the second time to perform a concert this week as part of the fifth Avea Extraordinary Music Concerts. One of the well-known representatives of Algeria-originated folk music genre rai, Taha will entertain Turkish audiences when he takes to the stage on Friday at the Istanbul Congress Center. Speaking to Today’s Zaman in e-mail interview on Sunday, the singer said he likens his music to the Bosporus Bridge in that it connects the West and the East. “In my music, I blend the culture of the society I was born and raised with that of the ones I travel,” said Taha, who gained international fame with his 1998 hit “Ya Rayah.” “The rebellious spirit of punk and Arabic music are basically the same in words but different in tunes. If one wonders what happens when these two come together, he or she can look at my music. So I [also] liken my music to myself. Music is the nicest way of bringing together different point of views, cultures and ideas. And I use that aspect of music,” the singer noted. Taha said one of his biggest aims is to further introduce rai to the world as a music genre which originated from Bedouin shepherds and later mixed with Arabic, African, Spanish and French musical forms. The singer underlined that Algeria has ancient and rooted music genres which are still waiting to be rediscovered and pointed to the existence of hundreds of ancient songs. Talking about his contribution to the music of his country, he said: “The people of my own country have rediscovered the music of their ancestors. It is a nice thing.” The singer added he feels familiar to Turkish music and drew attention to the common aspects of the Middle East and Turkish music. “I am an admirer of late Egyptian diva Umm Kulthum, who inspired lots of musicians from Turkey. The oud and the darbuka are not unfamiliar musical instruments for me. So I feel I am a part of this cultural richness.” When asked about the song “Abdel Kader” from the 1999 live album “1,2,3 Soleils,” which came after a famous 1998 concert with Taha, Khaled and Faudel at Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy in Paris, Taha said he had the opportunity to visit the  northwestern Turkish city of Bursa, where Algerian Islamic scholar Abdul Qadir was exiled. The song by Khaled was devoted to the scholar and performed by the three leading singers of rai during the concert. Also an activist, the 56-year-old Taha has been living in France since he was 10. The singer noted he sees change and renewal when he looks at the Middle East and added, “No change happens without pain but I am hopeful

SOURCE: Todays Zaman