Born in Sig, Algeria—the birthplace of Rai, Rachid Taha was in a way destined to make his mark in the genre. By 1990, the artist released a version of Dahmene El Harrachi’s song Ya Rayah that wound up putting him at the top of the music charts—forever solidifying his position in the music scene.
But his journey didn’t start there. The singer had long been influenced by Moroccan band Nass El Ghiwane—and in 1981, he formed his legendary band Carte de Sejour in Lyon, France—singing predominantly in Arabic despite the aversion to the language in the French music scene at the time.
The group would go on to make their mark for their unique Punk Rock-Maghribi sound—one that resonated with the immense Franco-North African communities in France, and one that Taha went on to develop further upon the release of his first solo album, Diwan, in 1998.
And it was his unique mix of genres that made Taha a household name all across the region, and today, the Arab world mourns his loss following a heart attack at 59 years old.
“It is with regret and immense sadness that his son Lyes, his family and relatives, his friends and his record label Naïve, announce the death of artist Rachid Taha, following a heart attack overnight at his home in the Lilas [near Paris],” his family said in a statement.
To celebrate his life, MILLE rounds up some of Taha’s best songs that we’ve all grown up listening to:
Ecoute Moi Camarade
Ghanni li Shwaya